Sara Dubow Receives Research Fellowship

Media contact:  Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 14, 2013—Sara Dubow, associate professor of history at Williams College, has been awarded a New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop two new research projects that focus on the legal history of reproductive and sexual politics. New Directions Fellowships are intended to allow “established scholar-teachers to pursue formal substantive and methodological training in addition to the Ph.D.,” according to the Mellon Foundation. “[They] are meant to be viewed as longer-term investments in scholars’ intellectual range and productivity.” The foundation has awarded $188,200 to Williams College to support Dubow’s two long-term book projects, one tentatively titled “From Conscience Clauses to Conscience Wars: The History and Politics of Refusal, 1973-2012,” and another tentatively titled “‘At the Heart of Liberty’: A History of Gender, Sexuality, and the Fourteenth Amendment.”

With the grant, Dubow will have the opportunity to travel to archives and libraries, and to take classes in constitutional and administrative law at Yale Law School, where she will be a visiting researcher for 2013-2014. Her first project will explore the historical development of conscience clauses, which allow health care providers with moral or religious objections not to perform abortions or in some cases not to provide contraceptives, and their more recent transformation into “conscience wars” within the national discourse of reproductive health. Dubow’s second project, “At the Heart of Liberty,” will explore how gender difference and equality have been debated and imagined in a series of Fourteenth Amendment cases.

“My new work focuses on the intersections among law, social movements, and politics, particularly on questions of how conflicts between First Amendment protections of religious freedom and Fourteenth Amendment protections of equality are conceptualized, adjudicated, and politicized in recent American history,” Dubow says.

Dubow’s first book, Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America, was published by Oxford University in 2010 and won the 2011 Bancroft Prize from Columbia University. Dubow received her B.A. from Williams College in 1991 and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2003. She has been at Williams since 2009.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.

To visit the college on the Internet: Williams College can also be found on Facebook: and Twitter: