Reproduction: Gender, Race and Power
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This program will offer an overview of human reproduction, paying particular attention to gender and race as vectors of power that affect how reproduction is discussed, legislated, and experienced in the United States. We will explore interrelated lines of inquiry using political economy, sociology, ethics, human biology, and public health texts. In other words, this program will not attempt to construct a systematic history, but will rather use a series of case studies to develop an intersectional analysis of reproduction as a phenomenon that cannot be separated from issues of race and gender.
The study of reproduction is, by its very nature, interdisciplinary. Students who are successful in this program will gain a foundation in reproductive physiology, basic genetics, and endocrinology, and they will apply their learning to specific issues such as the susceptibility of the reproductive body to societal influences and stress through epigenetics. Our examination of the biology of reproduction will include some lab work in microscopy and dissections, and students will demonstrate their learning through workshops, lab worksheets, and examinations.
Biology is also shaped by cultural norms. Accordingly, we will collectively dismantle the idea that women are defined as such by an innate reproductive capacity, and the syllabus will include texts that address the experiences of trans, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals. We will also discuss the ways in which contraception, abortion, forced sterilization, genetic testing, and other forms of reproductive control both reflect, and have been used to perpetuate, systemic racism. In all aspects of the program, students will be expected to engage in thoughtful and challenging conversations about how power and privilege operate on a variety of bodies, including our own.
Through both formal and informal assignments, this program will help students learn to listen and observe attentively, do close and critical reading with challenging texts, contribute clear and well-developed writing, make relevant contributions to seminar discussions, and acquire and demonstrate physiologic reasoning skills. In our pursuit of diverse perspectives and approaches, we will welcome a variety of health care providers as guest speakers and we'll engage a variety of personal narratives through films and seminar readings. The reading list will include authors such as Dorothy Roberts, Loretta Ross, Rickie Solinger, and Michel Foucault . In order to foster critical engagement with these and other texts, students will be asked to complete weekly papers as well as integrative essays and in-class reflective writing assignments. In the second quarter of the program, students will be given the opportunity to design and execute a self-directed independent research project.
This program is designed for lower division students and will cover all topics at the introductory level, but we will provide additional structure and challenge for students who have some prior experience with this material.
Greener Foundations: This program will incorporate Greener Foundations, a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information can be found on the college website at Greener Foundations .
This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:
health professions; social work; activism; graduate school in the humanities, sociology, gender studies, and political change
Class Size: 40
50% Reserved for Freshmen
Scheduled for: Day
Located in: Olympia