UCLA » College » Social Sciences » History
Grad Students

Scottie Buehler CPM

Contact Information

Email    scottiecpm@ucla.edu
Office  Not Available

Scottie's dissertation, "Being and Becoming a Midwife in Eighteenth-century France: Geographies of Pedagogical Practices and Objects," focuses on midwifery training in late eighteenth century France. Concerns over a perceived population crisis and a neo-Hippocratic commitment to the social and physical environment as sources of both health and disease resulted in childbirth becoming a site for widespread governmental and medical intervention for the first time. Rhetoric blaming “ignorant” rural midwives justified expanding government- or church-funded provincial training courses. Augmenting published textbooks, a variety of unexplored sources—such as surveys, student notes, advertisements, marginalia, and objects including mannequins and instruments—enables her project to investigate the role of objects and practices in knowledge creation and transmission in midwifery training courses. After shedding light on previously hidden historical actors, she argues that the French government and medical institutions sought to regulate and control midwifery, not eliminate the practice, thus challenging the simplified, Anglo-centric narrative of male usurpation of the female domain of midwifery. Moreover, she delves into the role of objects and practices in gendered professional differentiation. Through the lens of practice methodology, she demonstrates the instability of the categories of “accoucehurs” (man-midwives) and “sages-femmes” (midwives) and the plurality of definitions of and identities surrounding theses terms in provincial France. Frequently practitioners collaborated through family ties, apprenticeships or educational relationships, and professional networks. Urban practitioners criticized rural midwives and surgeons alike for incompetence, suggesting that geopolitical (urban and rural) and class differences shaped their social realities and practices as much as the division between man-midwife and midwife.

Fields of Study

History of Science and Medicine; women in medicine; medicine and gender; history of surgery; objects/material culture; history of the book; history of anatomy and the body; French History; social history


Scottie Hale Buehler is a midwife turned historian of medicine. After earning her BA in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2006), she became a Certified Professional Midwife and founded and operated Motherwit Midwifery, a homebirth midwifery practice in Austin, Texas. Scottie researches the history of midwifery, obstetrics, and gynecology from 1500-1800 in France and England. Her dissertation employs practice and object-oriented methodologies to the study of midwifery training programs in the second half of eighteenth-century France. Complicating traditional narratives of male usurpation of the female domain of midwifery, Scottie explores gendered professional demarcation practices around and within these courses. Rather than attempting to eliminate midwifery as previous historical narratives have suggested, these courses represented an effort to regulate and control the practice.


“Birthing Cases: Narrative and Medical Knowledge in Francois Mauriceau's Observations (1694).” UCLA Historical Journal 27, no.1. (2016).

Grants and Awards

Huntington Library Short Term Fellowship 2018
Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine 2018
Chateaubriand Fellowship 2017
American Association for the History of Nursing H-31 Pre-doctoral Research Grant 2016
Penny Kanner Dissertation Research Fellowship 2016
Benjamin Nickoll Summer Research Travel Grant 2015
Graduate Summer Research Mentorship 2015
Barbara Rootenberg Fellowship in the History of Medicine 2015
Graduate Summer Research Mentorship 2014
Campbell Book Collectors Competition 2014

Conference Presentations

    • University of Texas at Austin,

      Joint Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality and History and Philosophy of Science

    • Histories of Reproductive Risk 2016

            Held at Princeton University. Presented "“Obstetrical Danger in Eighteenth Century France: The                        Instruments of André Levret and the Hands of Madame du Coudray”

    • "Images Don't Speak for Themselves"

      Library exhibit on images and knowledge. Scottie's section focuses on the role of conventions of the fetus in the uterus in the creation of medical knowlege from 1500-1900.

  • UCLA History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Forum 2015

      Presented "A Simulacrum of Birth: The Pedagogical Instruments and Obstetrical Course of Madame du Coudray."

  • History Graduate Student Association Conference 2015

       Presented “Birthing Cases”

  • Joint Atlantic Seminar on the History of Medicine 2014

        Presented “Birthing Cases: Narrative and Knowledge Production in François Mauriceau’s Observations


Mary Terrall


MA History, UCLA 2015
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), Association of Texas Midwives 2010
BA Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, University of Texas at Austin 2006