Gender Studies | Issues in Gender Studies: Comparative Politics of Reproductive Health
G302 | 29483 | Sissenich, B


The Comparative Politics of Reproductive Health In political
science, the body tends to be considered a private matter, except
for contentious issues such as abortion and birth control, which
serve as windows onto the politics of religion. Beyond that, the
embodiment and performance of reproduction are considered personal
and thus apolitical.  This course aims to challenge our categories
of “public” and “private,” of “political” and “personal,” by
investigating a range of issues around reproduction and health and
how they are handled by the state, or rather, by a variety of
different governments and political actors. Topics such as pregnancy
and childbirth, breastfeeding, compulsory HPV vaccination, genital
cutting, prostitution, incest prohibition, assisted reproductive
technologies, surrogacy, and adoption will offer empirical case
studies that help us explore the governance of bodies and the
economics of reproduction. Readings will be drawn from the history
of science and medicine, medical anthropology, comparative public
policy, gender theory, and normative political theory.

There will be no textbook. Students will be responsible for reading
60-80 pages of social science research each week; collaborating with
others in facilitating classroom discussion; keeping up with current
news on our topic; and producing a 10-page research paper.
Assignments will also include the occasional quiz and a midterm.