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Sharon Wall

Sharon Wall

The CHA Journal Prize ( The best article from #1 and #2 issues)


Sharon Wall, “Some thought they were in Love”: Sex, White Teenagehood, and Unmarried Pregnancy in Early Postwar Canada” which appears in Volume 25, Issue 1.

By dismantling the stereotype of the sexually conservative 1950s, Wall explores Canadian teenagers’ experiences with unmarried sex and unplanned pregnancies, arguing that the sexual revolution of the 1960s is better understood as a gradual evolution starting right after World War II. Drawing on demographic data, censuses, social welfare reports, and oral histories, Wall teaches us how to read sources against the grain. The article re-frames the issue of teen pregnancy to probe sexual desires and practices, balanced against the hard realities of coercion, sexual violence, and incest. Wall illuminates class and ethnic differences, while still being attentive to other fissures in identities. This rich and nuanced article is sophisticated and innovative, while being accessible to entry-level undergraduate audiences. It will find a broad audience among specialists, generalists, and students interested in gender relations, sexual identities, social change, and youth culture.