STS 212
Ethics and Reproductive Technologies Fall 2024
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed WGSS 212 / PHIL 212

Class Details

In her groundbreaking book, The Tentative Pregnancy, Barbara Katz Rothman writes that “[t]he technological revolution in reproduction is forcing us to confront the very meaning of motherhood, to examine the nature and origins of the mother-child bond, and to replace–or to let us think we can replace–chance with choice.” Taking this as our starting point, in this course we will examine a number of conceptual and ethical issues in the use and development of technologies related to human reproduction, drawing out their implications for such core concepts as “motherhood” and “parenthood,” family and genetic relatedness, exploitation and commodification, and reproductive rights and society’s interests in reproductive activities. Topics will range from consideration of “mundane” technologies such as contraception, abortion, in vitro fertilization (IVF), prenatal genetic screening and testing, and surrogacy, to the more extraordinary, possibly including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), post-menopausal reproduction, uterine transplants, and “artificial wombs.” Background readings include sources rooted in traditional modes of bioethical analysis as well as those incorporating feminist approaches.
The Class: Format: lecture; discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1591
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in class discussions, three or four short reflection papers, and two longer papers (5-7 and 7-10 pages)
Prerequisites: none, but introductory-level course in PHIL and/or WGSS recommended
Enrollment Preferences: WGSS and PHIL majors (declared or prospective), PHLH and STS concentrators (declared or prospective)
Unit Notes: meets Contemporary Value Theory requirement only if registration is under PHIL
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 212 Division II PHIL 212 Division II STS 212 Division II
WS Notes: Students will write periodic short papers (2-3 pages each), a midterm paper (5-7 pages) and a final paper (7-10 pages). Short papers focus on concepts, arguments, and writing skills needed in the midterm and final papers, in which students are expected to describe and evaluate arguments from assigned readings, and to present clear and effective arguments in support of their own ethical positions. Students receive feedback on all papers and have the opportunity to revise midterm and final papers.
Attributes: PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses
PHLH Bioethics + Interpretations of Health

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