Cara Delay


Address: Maybank 327
Office Hours: By appt.
Phone: 843.953.1420

Cara Delay is Professor of History at the College of Charleston. Her research analyzes the history of women, gender, and culture in Ireland, the American South, and the Atlantic World. Her award-winning body of scholarship includes more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters. She is the author or editor of Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism, 1850-1950 (Manchester University Press, 2019), Women, Reform, and Resistance in Ireland, 1850-1950, and Birth Control: What Everyone Needs to Know. Her new book (with Beth Sundstrom), Catching Fire: Women’s Health Activism in Ireland, was published with Oxford University Press (April 2023); and another project, Menstruation: A Global History, is under contract with Polity Press. At the College of Charleston, she teaches courses on women’s history, women’s health, and the history of birth and bodies.


Ph.D. and M.A., Brandeis University; A.B., Boston College

Research Interests

European Women's and Gender History; Modern Britain and Ireland; History of Reproduction and Childbirth; Women’s Health

Courses Taught

HIST 255/WGST 255: A History of Reproduction
HIST 252: Women in Europe HIST 299: The Historian's Craft
HIST 441: Research Seminar: The History of the Body
HIST 640: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe (graduate course)
WGST 120: Women and War
HIST 347: Women in Britain and Ireland, 1700-1914

Honors and Awards

2012-2013 Research Fulbright at The University College Dublin Humanities Institute, Ireland. Recipient of grants and awards from The American Association of University Women, the Coordinating Council for Women in History, the Donnelly Foundation, Boston College Ireland, and the American Conference for Irish Studies. Visiting Professor at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, 2020.


Selected Recent Publications:

Beth Sundstrom and Cara Delay, Catching Fire: Women's Health Activism in Ireland and the Global Movement For Reproductive Justice. Oxford University Press, 2023.

Cara Delay and Beth Sundstrom, “‘In Her Shoes’ and In Her Words: Silences, Voices, and Bodies in Irish Women’s Abortion Narratives.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies Volume 43, Number 2 (2022): 139-168.

Cara Delay and Claire Bracken, eds., Reproductive Justice and the Politics of Women’s Health in Ireland. Special issue of Éire-Ireland (winter 2021).

Michaela Carroll, Cara Delay, Beth Sundstrom, and Annie Gjelsvik, “Our Darkest Hour: Women’s Experiences of Violence under Ireland’s Eighth Amendment.” Feminist Encounters 6,1 (2022).

Cara Delay, “Fashion and Faith: The First Communion Dress in Twentieth-Century Ireland.” Religions 12, 7: 518 (2021).

Cara Delay, “Trading in Women’s ‘Troubles’: Fertility Control and Post-Colonial Exchanges in Irish History.” In The Economics of Empire: Genealogies of Capital and the Colonial Encounter, ed. Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem and Michael O’Sullivan. New York: Routledge University Press, 2021, 92-106.

Cara Delay, “The Material Culture of Domestic Childbirth.” In Birth and the Irish: A Miscellany, ed. Salvador Ryan, Wordwell Press, 2021.

Cara Delay, “Fertility Control, Abortifacients, and Emmenagogues.” In Birth and the Irish: A Miscellany, ed. Salvador Ryan, Wordwell Press, 2021.

Beth Sundstrom and Cara Delay, Birth Control: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Cara Delay, “Gender, Sexuality, and the Devotional Revolution in Ireland.” New Hibernia Review 24, 4 (Winter/Geimhreadh 2020): 98-121.

Madeleine Ware, Cara Delay, and Beth Sundstrom. “Abortion and Black Women’s Reproductive Health Networks in South Carolina, 1940-1970.” Gender & History 32, 3 (October 2020): 637-56.

Cara Delay, Irish Women and the Creation of Modern Catholicism, 1850-1950. Manchester University Press (2019).

Cara Delay, “Wrong for Womankind and The Nation: Anti-Abortion Discourses in Ireland, 1967-1992.” Journal of Modern European History 17, 3 (2019): 312-325.

Cara Delay and Beth Sundstrom, “The Legacy of Symphysiotomy in Ireland: A Reproductive Justice Approach to Obstetric Violence.” Advances in Medical Sociology: Reproduction, Health, and Medicine 20 (2020): 197-218.

Cara Delay and Annika Liger, “Bad Mothers and Dirty Lousers: Representing Abortionists in Post-Independence Ireland.” Journal of Social History, August 2019.

Cara Delay, “From the Backstreet to Britain: Women and Abortion Travel in Modern Ireland.” Travellin’ Mama: Mothers, Mothering, and Travel, eds. Charlotte Beyer, Janet MacLennan, Dorsía Smith Silva, and Marjorie Tesser, Demeter Press, 2019.

Cara Delay, “Pills, Potions, and Purgatives: Women and Abortion Methods in Ireland, 1900-1950.” Women’s History Review 28, 3 (2019): 479-99.

Cara Delay, “Kitchens and Kettles: Domestic Spaces, Ordinary Things, and Female Networks in Irish Abortion History, 1922-1949,” Journal of Women’s History (30, 4, winter 2018): 11-34.