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Estelle Freedman
Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History
Clayman Institute Faculty Research Fellow, 2010-2011

Estelle Freedman is a US historian specializing in women's history and feminist studies. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in history from Columbia University and her B.A in history from Barnard College. She has taught at Stanford University since 1976 and co-founded the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her contributions to teaching have earned the Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Service to Undergraduate Education, the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Rhodes Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the Kahn-Van Slyke Graduate Mentoring Award at Stanford, as well as the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award for graduate mentorship from the American Historical Association.


Professor Freedman's research interests focus on the history of women and social reform, including feminism and prison reform, as well as the history of sexuality. Her most recent book, Redefining Rape (2013), demonstrates that our definition of rape has depended heavily on dynamics of political power and social privilege.  She is the editor of The Essential Feminist Reader (2007), an anthology of 64 primary documents from feminist history around the world spanning the fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Her book No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (2002) explores feminism in the West and its relationship to broader movements for women's rights and social change throughout the world. In addition to two books on the history of women’s prison reform (Their Sisters’ Keepers [1981] and Maternal Justice [1996], she is the author of Feminism, Sexuality, and Politics (2006), a collection of her essays. With John D’Emilio, she wrote Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (3rd ed., 2012) and edited My Desire for History: Essays on Gay, Community, and Labor History, by Allan Bérubé (2011). She is currently co-producing a documentary film about folk-singer/activist Faith Petric (1915-2013), and continues to study sexual violence.

In Print