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Natalie L. Kimball

Associate Professor

Professor Kimball is an oral and social historian whose research focuses on the histories of gender, sexuality, and reproduction in Latin America during the twentieth century. Their recent book traces the history of unwanted pregnancy and abortion in Bolivia's highland cities of La Paz and El Alto between 1952 and 2010. Drawing on oral interviews and medical records, the book examines the history of reproductive health policy and provisioning alongside personal experiences with unwanted pregnancy and abortion. It argues that individuals' experiences with unwanted pregnancy and abortion matter; this is true not only because these experiences shaped the evolution of policies and services on reproductive health but because they challenge common misperceptions about how people make decisions about their pregnancies. The book is entitled An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia, and is available from Rutgers University Press.

Professor Kimball is currently working on two projects: a book of personal testimonies of alteñas, or women living in El Alto, Bolivia, and a narrative history of sexuality in La Paz since the 1982 democratic opening, which features the stories of LGBTQ individuals (or TLGB, in Spanish).

Professor Kimball participates in movements supporting reproductive rights and health in the U.S. and Latin America and conceives of themself as a “scholactivist,” or a scholar committed to linking their work to social justice activism. Professor Kimball is a trans non-binary person and uses the pronouns they/them/theirs.


Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

M.A., University of Pittsburgh

B.A., University of Washington

Scholarship and Publications

Book Forum, with Natasha Erlank and Leslie Hadfield, Abortion Under Apartheid: Nationalism, Sexuality, and Women’s Reproductive Rights in South Africa, by Susanne M. Klausen, South African Historical Journal (December 2022),

Un secreto a voces: La historia de los embarazos no deseados y el aborto en la Bolivia moderna (La Paz, Bolivia: Editorial 3600, 2022).

"Machismo and Other Intimacies in Twentieth-Century Bolivia: Reflections on Conducting Oral Histories about Sexuality and Reproduction," Gender & History (January 2022): 1-19,

An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2020).

“The Landscape of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Highland Bolivia, 1982-2010,” in Transcending Borders: Abortion in the Past and Present, eds. Shannon Stettner, Katrina Ackerman, Kristen Burnett, and Travis Hay (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 205-220.

Book review, A History of Family Planning in Twentieth-Century Peru, by Raúl Necochea López, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. 90, No. 2 (Summer 2016), 355-356.

“Bibliografía sobre el embarazo no deseado y aborto en Bolivia” (“Review of literature on unwanted pregnancy and abortion in Bolivia”) in Fuentes: Revista de la Biblioteca y Archivo Histórico de la Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional (Sources: The Journal of the Historical Library and Archive of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly) Vol. IX, No. 40 (October 2015), 17-21.

“Una colección para el estudio médico sobre las mujeres” (“A Useful Collection for the Study of Women’s Reproductive History”), La Razón newspaper (6 December 2009), La Paz, Bolivia: Section C8.


Professor Natalie L. Kimball picture profile

Contact Information

Office: Building 2N Room 215C
Fax: 718.982.2864