GSWS 318 Reproductive Justice and Rights

July 20, 2018


Professor: Dr. Rebecca Scott Yoshizawa
Office: AQ 5094
Office hours: TBD
Lecture: Tuesdays 8:30 – 12:20; SH 10061

Course Description:

Reproductive politics refers ongoing struggles to define, constrain, medicalize, technologize, spur, and/or prevent reproduction. This course that builds interdisciplinary, intersectional, and feminist tools to analyze narratives, issues, practices, and arguments regarding reproductive politics as they manifest through out the lifecourse, from preconception to end of life. Topics include theories of reproductive justice and technology; the biology, culture, and gender of reproduction; reproductive choices and fertility; kinship; childbirth and child rearing; menopause and andropause; and the developmental origins of health and disease. We will survey these topics in the first 1/3 of the course, and then develop the next thirds around two case studies: the placenta as a reproductive political nexus, and abortion politics in Canada.

Recognizing the topical and controversial nature of reproductive politics as well as the role of GSWS in transforming students into critical advocates for social change,  assignments encourage students to engage in public dialogues on reproduction.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of a range of feminist perspectives
2. Demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of issues pertaining to reproductive politics
3. Analyze reproductive politics from feminist perspectives
4. Mobilize media skills for participation in public debates on reproductive politics

Educational Goals:

For more detailed information please see the GSWS website:

Course Evaluation and Assignments:

15% Participation and attendance

20% Op-ed; due week 4
Write a ~800 word opinion editorial about a reproductive political issue from feminist perspectives learned in the course

15% “Twitter Thread”; due week 8
Write 10x ~280 character “tweets” about an issue in reproductive politics Final Project

25% Podcast (completed in partners) OR Long-form “Oatmeal”-style Comic (completed individually); due week 12

20% Analysis Essay; due week 13
A ~2000 word substantiation and analysis of your podcast or comic

5% Presentation; due week 12 or 13

Course Texts and Courseware:

·         Jordan, N. (2017). Placenta Wit: Mother Stories, Rituals, and Research. Demeter Press. 978-1-77258-107-2
·         Skloot, Rebecca (2010). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown Publishing Group. 1400052181

Prerequisite: 30 units, including 3 units in GSWS or WS or GDST.

The Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies encourages clarity of thought and expression and good writing.

Students will be evaluated on these skills in all courses given by the department.

In addition, the department will follow policy t10.02 with respect to “intellectual honesty,” and “academic discipline” (