Nicole Bourbonnais


Spoken languages
English, French, Spanish
Areas of expertise
  • Civil society, social movements, Trade Unions, NGOs
  • Development, cooperation and aid policies
  • Gender, women and public policies
  • Global health, global health diplomacy, global health governance, medical anthropology
  • Human rights
  • International organisations, UN
  • Redistribution policies, social inequalities, poverty
  • Religion and politics
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Central America
  • South America



Dr. Nicole Bourbonnais is an Assistant Professor of International History with a focus on global population politics, reproductive rights, and transnational activism in the twentieth century. Her first book, Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean: Reproductive Politics and Practice on Four Islands, 1930-1970 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) explores how family planning campaigns in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, and Bermuda intersected with the politics of nationalism and working class women’s efforts to control their reproductive lives in the early to mid twentieth century.  Her next major project, The Gospel of Birth Control: Prophets, Patients, and the Transnational Family Planning Movement, will expand outward from the Caribbean to explore the transnational networks that linked together birth control campaigns, family planning activists, and reproductive rights movements across the globe from the 1920s onwards.

Dr. Bourbonnais received her BA from the University of British Colombia (Vancouver) and MA/PhD in History from the University of Pittsburgh.  She teaches courses and supervises theses on the subjects of population and reproduction, social history, gender history, Latin American and Caribbean history, and the history of public health and medicine.





  • Birth Control in the Decolonizing Caribbean: Reproductive Politics and Practice on Four Islands, 1930-1970. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2016.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Our Joan of Arc: Women, Gender, and Authority in the Harmony Division of the UNIA, in Ronald J. Stephens and Adam Ewing, eds. Global Garveyism: Diasporic Aspirations and Utopian Dreams. Forthcoming.
  • Class, Colour, and Contraception: The Politics of Birth Control in Jamaica, 1938-1968, in Taitu Heron and Shakira Maxwell, eds., Social and Economic Studies: Special Issue on Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights in Select Caribbean Countries, 61.3, (September): 7-38. 2012.
  • Dangerously Large: The 1938 Labor Rebellion and the Debate over Birth Control in Jamaica, New West Indian Guide. 83.1&2 (2009): 39-69. 2009.
  • “Discrimination in Any Shape or Form: Black Activism and Women’s Rights in Interwar Bermuda,” in K. Natanya Duncan and Reena N. Goldthree, eds.  Caribbean Review of Gender Studies Special Issue: Gender and Anticolonialism in the Interwar Caribbean, 12 (October 2018): 143-168.

Book reviews

  • Review of Juanita de Barros and Sean Stilwell, eds., Public Health and the Imperial Project, (Africa World Press, 2016), Medical History. Forthcoming.
  • Review of Juanita de Barros, Reproducing the British Caribbean: Sex, Gender and Population Politics after Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), Canadian Journal of History 50.2 (2015): 380-382.
  • “Review of Sasha Turner, Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine (Winter, 2018).

Works in Progress

  • The Gospel of Birth Control: Prophets, Patients, and the Global Family Planning Movement, book-length project.

Media and Policy Papers

Nicole Bourbonnais

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