WGSS 272 Fall 2014 Sex and the Reproduction of Society

Cross Listed as ANTH272
Why is reproduction such a controversial subject in society today, especially in areas of medicine, culture, and religion? And why is the reproductive body subject to such highly ideological and yet contradictory types of practices and discourses across the globe? This course seeks to examine the myriad ways that societies police the range of practices surrounding reproduction--including fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth, abortion, and motherhood. We will pursue a comparative analysis of reproduction across major societies and cultures, through an in-depth look at specialized topics such as the new reproductive technologies, the medicalization and ritualization of obstetrics in America, the continuing controversies over abortion across the globe, and the ongoing debates about the rise of women and the 'End of Men'. Throughout the course, we remain focused on the cultural, social, and medical construction of birth and reproduction more generally. To this end, we explore the varying ritual and medical practices that surround reproduction in different cultural contexts, from high tech to low tech settings and societies. We will deconstruct the process of human reproduction through readings culled from a variety of cultures and disciplines including anthropology, medicine, religious studies, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: in-class presentations, attendance, class blog, final research paper
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: majors in Anthropology/Sociology, Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives,INST Global Health Studies Electives,INST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives,PHLH Maternal and Child Health,PHLH Science and Medicine,REL Comparative Inquiry Courses,WGSS Feminist Theory Courses
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1180
WGSS 272 - 01 (F) SEM Sex in Society Division 2: Social Studies Kim Gutschow
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Steson Mabie Room 1180
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