This handbook, the first of its kind, will at once provide a comprehensive and carefully curated view of the state of the art of critical menstruation studies as well as point toward new directions in research and advocacy. Thus, The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, will provide an unmatched resource for scholars new to and already familiar with the field.

Editors: Chris Bobel, Breanne Fahs, Katie Ann Hasson, Elizabeth Kissling, Tomi-Ann Roberts, and Inga Winkler


A year ago, Newsweek ran a cover story titled “The Fight to End Period Shaming is Going Mainstream”. Indeed, the last several years and months have brought a tremendous diversity of menstrual positive expressions—from the artistic to the practical, the serious and the playful, local and the global.

Countries as diverse as Kenya and India are developing policies on menstrual hygiene management. Efforts to de-tax menstrual products succeeded in New York City, the UK and Canada. There is much greater awareness of the challenges women and girls face when lacking adequate opportunities to manage their menstruation in privacy and in dignity, whether school girls in the Global South or homeless women in the Global North. Menstruation is having its moment.

In response to this shift in perception, awareness and action, the handbook situates menstruation as a category of analysis, establishing the field of “critical menstrual studies” as a coherent and multi-dimensional transdisciplinary subject of inquiry and advocacy.

The handbook is animated by the central question: what new lines of inquiry, including research questions and social justice engagements, are possible when we center our attention on menstrual health and politics across the lifespan? Attention to menstrual issues across the lifespan surfaces broader societal issues and tensions, including gender inequality, practices and discourses of embodiment, processes of radicalization and commodification, and emergent technologies

To reflect the breath, depth and richness of this emerging field, we invite ideas, inputs and suggested chapters for inclusion in the handbook.

–          We hope to include voices and perspectives from as many different areas of the globe as possible.
–          We hope to include as many different disciplines as possible.
–          The objective of the chapters is on providing an overview of a specific questions. While we do not intend to publish small case studies, we do want to include emerging areas.
–          The handbook is academic in nature. However, we know that many of the current developments around menstrual hygiene are driven by practitioners, policy makers, activists and civil society. We intend to capture these development, trends and initiatives through reflections from practice.

We welcome suggestions for specific chapters by potential authors. Likewise, we welcome suggestions of ideas for possible lines of inquiry that should be covered. We welcome referrals, and we encourage you to spread this call as widely as possible.

Please submit your ideas and proposals by June 30, 2017 to .
While the outline for the handbook will be developed in response to suggestions, our initial ideas for chapters include the following:
Menstruation as Embodied
–          The Pathologization of the Menstrual Cycle
–          The Sexualization of Girls during Menarche
–          Menstruation and Stigma
–          Menstrual Health as Body Literacy
–          Social Constructions of Menopause and Women at Midlife
–          Men’s and Boys’ Attitudes toward Menstruation

Menstruation as Rationale
–          Menstrual Activism
–          PreMenstrual Distress Disorders
–          FemCare Advertising
–          Mother-Daughter-Talk about Menstruation

Menstruation as Narrative
–          Menstruation in Film
–          Queering Menstruation
–          Menstrual Discourses
–          Menstruation and Sexuality
–          Menstrual Health Education Curricula

Menstruation as Material
–          The Business of Menstruation
–          The Menstrual Product Revolution in the Global South
–          History of Menstrual Technologies and their Risks
–          Menstrual Suppression
–          Menstruation and Big Pharma
–          Menstrual Art

Menstruation as Fundamental
–          Menstrual Health in the Framework of Human Rights
–          Menstrual Traditions, Cultural and Religious Practices
–          Menstrual Health in Marginalized Settings: Prisoners, Homeless Women, Dwellers in Informal Settlements, Women with Disabilities, Refugees, IDPs, Sex Workers
–          Advocacy on Menstrual Justice & Menstrual Equity
–          Policy Making on Menstrual Hygiene Management (including the Sustainable Development Goals)


Chris Bobel, PhD
Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
University of Massachusetts Boston, USA
President, The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

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