West European Studies | Special Topics in W Eur Studies: The Comparative Politics of Reproductive Health
W405 | TBA | Sissenich, B.
11:15 AM-12:30 PM MW 3 cr.
Above section carries A&H Distribution credit
Above section meets with WEST-W605, POLS-Y335 and GNDR-G302
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 chldbirth, 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
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.