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University of Iowa News

Sept. 14, 2006

UI Hosts Lecture Focused On Abstinence Sept. 19

A French doctor's efforts to persuade adolescents to remain abstinent in the early 1900s will be the topic of a University of Iowa lecture presented at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in Room 401 of the UI Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. The public is welcome to attend this free event.

Jennifer Burek Pierce, assistant professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, will present "From Baby Dolls to Babies in Their Caskets: Motivating Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Early 20th-Century France."

Light refreshments will be served. The lecture is part of a series of presentations sponsored by the UI History of Medicine Society.

Pierce will examine the ways that Dr. Alfred Fournier tried to use frank medical information to convince adolescents of the value of abstinence. Fournier, who did extensive research on syphilis, co-authored two booklets designed to improve public health by educating French youth on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

Pierce studies historic sexual and reproductive health texts, particularly texts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that were written for women and adolescent readers. Her research focuses on scientific and cultural norms that affect access to health information, government roles in health information dissemination, and the transmission of scientific and medical information about sexuality to lay audiences via popular magazines and other venues.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact Ed Holtum at 319-335-9154 or

For directions to Hardin Library and information on parking, visit

For more information about the UI History of Medicine Society lecture series, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660

PROGRAM CONTACT: Susan Lawrence, UI associate professor of history, UI History of Medicine Society, 319-353-4681,

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