Book Launch: Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars

SHaME is thrilled to host the official launch of Charlie Jeffries’s new book, Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars (Rutgers University Press, 2022). Jeffries will be joined by SHaME’s Prof Joanna Bourke for a short reading from the book and a Q+A discussion.

Online and In Person
Birkbeck, University of London

 Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars 

13 July 2022 

This Summer, SHaME is thrilled to be hosting the official launch of Charlie Jeffries’s new book, Teenage Dreams: Girlhood Sexualities in the US Culture Wars (Rutgers University Press, 2022). After a short reading from the book, Charlie Jeffries will be in conversation with Professor Joanna Bourke, followed by a Q+A discussion and reception.

Register Now:
13 July 2022
6.30-8:00PM BST

Utilizing a breadth of archival sources from activists, artists, and policymakers, Teenage Dreams examines the race- and class-inflected battles over adolescent women’s sexual and reproductive lives in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century United States. Charlie Jeffries finds that most adults in this period hesitated to advocate for adolescent sexual and reproductive rights, revealing a new culture war altogether–one between adults of various political stripes in the cultural mainstream who prioritized the desire to delay girlhood sexual experience at all costs, and adults who remained culturally underground in their support for teenagers’ access to frank sexual information, and who would dare to advocate for this in public. The book tells the story of how the latter group of adults fought alongside teenagers themselves, who constituted a large and increasingly visible part of this activism. The history of the debates over teenage sexual behavior reveals unexpected alliances in American political battles, and sheds new light on the resurgence of the right in the US in recent years.

Following the reading and Q&A, there will be a reception where Teenage Dreams will be available for purchase at a discount. This event is free and open to the public, and will also be available to livestream online, but tickets must be booked in advance. Please note that the in-person capacity is 35 people, however we will operate a waiting list and notify you if tickets become available.

Registration details

Age Guidance: 18 yrs +
FREE – but please register in advance
To register, please click the relevant ticket link below:

Remote Livestream Tickets

*This event is taking place in person and being livestreamed online.
*Please note: this event will be recorded (speakers only).



Dr Charlie Jeffries is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of History, Classics, and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London and is a Senior Associate Fellow of SHaME. Her research focuses on the history of sexuality and the history of social movements in the late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century United States. She has work published in the Journal of American Studies, and she is currently researching the history of anti-sexual violence activism on US campuses from the 1990s to present. Teenage Dreams is her first monograph.

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the Principal Investigator of the SHaME project. She is the prize-winning author of fifteen books, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. Among others, she is the author of Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (2007), What it Means To Be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present (2011), and The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (2014). Reaktion Books will publish Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence in July 2022. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. She is a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular correspondent for newspapers.