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Sarah Mellors RodriguezActing Associate Professor


Sarah Mellors Rodriguez is a historian of China whose work focuses on gender/sexuality, aging, and medicine in modern China. She completed her MA and PhD in Modern Chinese History at the University of California, Irvine (2018). Prior to joining the faculty at Emory in 2024, Dr. Rodriguez held the position of Associate Professor of East Asian History at Missouri State University. At Emory, she teaches courses on the histories of modern China, gender and sexuality, and eugenics and population control.

Dr. Rodriguez’s first book, Reproductive Realities in Modern China: Birth Control and Abortion, 1911-2021, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2023. By centering grassroots accounts of birth control use, Reproductive Realities uses archival research and interviews with 80 women and men to investigate local implementation and reception of population policies from the Republican period (1911-1949) to the present. Reproductive Realities was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2022 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize Competition.

Her current project, Growing Old: A History of Aging in Global China, investigates how the rollback of the collective-era welfare system, uneven economic development, and inadequate access to healthcare have shaped experiences with aging in China since 1949.

Selected Publications

  • “Constructing the Maoist Sexual Subject: 1950s Hygiene Guides and the Production of Sexual Knowledge.” In How Maoism was Made: A History of Chinese Communism in Fragments, edited by Jennifer Altehenger and Aaron Moore. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming, 2024.
  • “IUDs and Their Legacy in China.” The Nursing Clio Reader. Rutgers University Press. Forthcoming, 2024.
  • “Buying into Reproductive Modernity: Tracing the Transnational History of Two Contraceptives in Britain and China.” Social History of Medicine 20, no. 20 (2023): 1-27.
  • “Researching the PRC in Municipal and Provincial Archives.” The PRC History Review 6, no. 3 (2021): 10-11.
  • “The Trouble with Rubbers: A History of Condoms in Modern China.” Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China 22, no. 1 (2020): 150-178.
  • “Less Reproduction, More Production: Birth Control in the Early People’s Republic of China, 1949- 1958.” East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 13, no. 3 (2019): 367-389.