Welcome to the Massachusetts Review's Working Titles! Working Titles are e-publications of prose too long for our print pages. Working Titles will be published semi-annually.
Working Titles are made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Five Colleges, Inc., and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, as well as private donors.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that we have a right to an abortion. Almost 50 years later, in this past summer of 2022, the Supreme Court overruled the Roe decision, stripping millions of a right that had long been assumed guaranteed. As writer and reproductive rights activist Joyce Avrech Berkman points out, the journey between these two events is marked by a long history of misogyny, legal barrages, and a narrow view of religion and American history. Looking at her experiences in academia during the late 60s and early 70s, religious pluralism, the work of other activists such as Bill Baird, and many intersecting texts, Berkman reveals the greater, despicable truths that lie at the heart of breaking down democracy and the work being done to mend it. Read an excerpt here.
Joyce Avrech Berkman is Professor of History Emerita at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she taught from 1965 to 2014. She taught as well at Mount Holyoke College, and in Canada and Germany, earning the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and its Distinguished Academic Outreach Award, and a US Fulbright, among other awards. She was a founding member of the University and Five College Women’s Studies programs, and launched courses at the University and in the Five Colleges on US, British, and European women’s history, African American women’s history, and seminars in the history of Reproductive Rights, Oral History, Autobiography, History, and Fiction. Her published scholarship spans multiple disciplines, including philosophy and theology, and focuses primarily on the life and writing of Olive Schreiner, Vera Brittain, and Edith Stein and issues in historical theory and methodology. A public historian, she works with theaters in play development, and co-founded the Valley Women’s History Collaborative. Her leading secondary interests are in music theory, composition, and piano performance.