Purdue University College of Liberal Art

Sharra Vostral

Please join me in congratulating Sharra Vostral, associate professor of history, for her new book, Toxic Shock: A Social History (New York University Press, 2018).

The book examines the emergence of toxic shock syndrome in the late-1970s and early-1980s, a life-threatening illness which researchers soon tied to a bacterium and the use of new high-absorbency tampons. It further revisits the medical, social, and economic factors that made it difficult for public health officials to pinpoint the cause, for the media to explain the risks, and women’s health advocates to fight for adequate labeling. Because it was a new kind of illness related to tampons, once thought to be inert, and bacterium, common to many, there was no previous health model for it. In addition to addressing this stigmatized issue in women’s reproductive health, Toxic Shock also focuses on the dangers that still exist as bacteria and technology interact within the human body.

Congratulations, Dr. Vostral!

David's Signature

David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean
College of Liberal Arts