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WGSS Annual Symposium 2017

Cabral Center at the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute
40 Leon Street, Boston
Friday, March 17, 2017
9 am – 5 pm

View the full program for the event here.

Presented by the WGSS program, the Northeastern Humanities Center, and the Collaborative Research Cluster on reproductive justice
Co-Sponsored by: the College of Social Sciences and Humanities; the College of Arts, Media, and Design; t
he School of Law and the Center for Health Law and Policy; Bouve College of Health Sciences School of Nursing; Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice; the Departments of Cultures, Societies, & Global Studies, English, History, Philosophy & Religion, Political Science, and Sociology & Anthropology; the Programs in Human Services and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics; the Center for Health Law and Policy

Equality under law and basic personal freedom—the right to control choices about one’s own health and body—has been an ongoing struggle for women over time and across the globe. With the new administration, abortion retains its place in the American political system as one of the most divisive issues despite women’s health being at stake.   The GOP Platform explicitly states the desire of the Republican party to curb access to reproductive rights, and vice-president Pence has long been one of the most vociferous anti-choice politicians, vowing to overturn Roe as soon as possible.   Many state governments have enacted legal measures that block access to abortion and other health services or mandate that women receive incorrect and misleading information. The shift in government and the ongoing attacks on abortion service providers and their capacity to provide safe healthcare for women means that we are entering one of the most anti-choice and misogynist times in recent memory. The struggle for reproductive justice continues to animate activists and theorists around the globe – to protect what little we currently have and to forge productive and wide-ranging social justice strategies. This daylong symposium – creatively engaging both on-the-ground activism and more academic understandings – is our attempt to bring into dialogue current debates around reproductive justice and to place those debates and political strategies in historical context.

The day-long event will feature academics, activists, and public intellectuals including: Nashira Baril (Birth Sanctuary Boston), Khiara M. Bridges (Boston University School of Law & Boston University Department of Anthropology), Dázon Dixon Diallo (SisterLove, Inc.), Shoshanna Ehrlich (University of Massachusetts Boston Department of Women’s and Gender Studies), Laura Harrison (Minnesota State University Mankato Department of Gender and Women’s Studies), Kimberly Mutcherson (Rutgers University School of Law), Kelly O’Donnell (Historian), Bayla Ostrach (Boston University School of Medicine), Loretta Ross (Reproductive Justice Author & Co-Creator), Rickie Solinger (Historian), Carly Thomsen (Middlebury College Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies), and Susan Yanow (MSW, Reproductive Health Consultant). Panels include: “Without Apology: historical and cultural contexts”, “Undivided: reproductive justice and social change”, “Unbound: reproductive justice and legal impediments”, and “On the Ground: activism and health praxis”. The day will conclude with a roundtable discussion of all panelists focused on curated questions from the audience moderated by Suzanna Walters, Editor-in-Chief of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.