In this episode, Jana Byars talks with Rachel Chrastil
, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and member of the history department at Xavier University, about her newest book, How to Be Childless: A History and Philosophy of Life Without Children
(Oxford University Press, 2019). This book is, at its heart, a history book, exploring the most personal of women’s decisions from the 1500s on. It also makes a stab at providing childless women with a narrative to support their own choices. From the introduction, “Childless women may think that they are alone in this experience, but, in fact, they can draw on a long history of childlessness that extends for centuries. With the exception of the baby boom, widespread childlessness has been a long-standing reality in northwestern European towns and cities from around 1500 onward.” This books attempts the difficult task of marrying scholarship with modern cultural study. The work is excellent, and the conversation fun.