Political Science | Politics of Gender and Sexuality: The Comparative Politics of Reproductive Health
Y353 | 29482 | Sissenich


Meets with GNDR G302 AND WEUR-W405/W605

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, sex
education, 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. While the
bulk of the literature focuses on North America, we will
deliberately engage comparisons with other advanced industrialized
countries in Europe and beyond.

There will be a course pack, but no textbook. Students will be
responsible for reading 60-80 pages of social science research each
week and writing response papers; keeping up with current news on
our topic; completing two take-home exams; and producing a 10-page
research paper.