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Gender Studies

007 Women's Studies Gender, Health, and Reproductive Politics


Gender Studies is a multi-disciplinary field that bridges many academic disciplines, including history, sociology, ethnic studies, political science, literature, and global studies

Law and Policies Relating to Reproduction

What does it mean to approach reproductive issues in a feminist way? Laws and policies on reproduction have been one of the most widely discussed and debated topics in the world today.

How are laws and policies set regarding reproduction rights? How do institutions—such as medicine, the church, the government—support or surveil women’s reproductive decisions?

One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment

Author: Mei Fong

For decades, China has controlled its citizen's reproductive habits but has it gone to how it was planned? What were the costs of this policy? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mei Fong provides a gripping account of this radical experiment and explains how the one-child policy has profoundly affected society in modern China. 

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Photo by Mei Fong

Media Related to Reproduction Rights and Gender Studies

In recent times, the relationship between media and gender has been the subject of many research studies. 


How are genders generally portrayed in media today? 

How can media today be used to achieve gender equality?  

Handmaid's Tale - TV Series

Plot Summary

The Handmaid's Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was the United States. Gilead is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state, and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. In a desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude.

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Photo by IMDB

Surrogation Policies in Different Countries

In recent news, many celebrities and parents from around the world have welcomed babies via surrogacy. Surrogacy laws vary from country to country, but it is legal in many countries, including certain states in the United States. 

Does surrogacy benefit all involved? What are the legal, ethical, and medical aspects of surrogacy? What are some ethical and human rights issues caused by surrogacy? What are the social and cultural implications of egg freezing?

Google Baby (2009) - Film

Google Baby is a journey across three continents telling the story of the up and coming baby production industry in the age of globalization.

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Photo by IMDB

The Hidden Impact of Adoption 

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It is estimated that there are over 100,000 children currently waiting to be adopted in the United States. With thousands of children being adopted each year, adopters generally have to go through a complex and costly process.  

Is the adoption system keeping families apart? How is globalization shaping our understanding of adoption? Are adoption systems fair in the way they process applications? Does race or wealth affect the success of an adoption? 

Mother's Rights in Prison

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Image by dvidshub

Mothers from around the world have different rights when it comes to childbirth and caring for their children. In situations such as when a mother is incarcerated or is separated from her child, a variety of consequences can be felt by all involved. 


What are the consequences of separating a child from their mother? Why are some women imprisoned for their beliefs in their birth rights? What rights are given to pregnant women or mothers who are incarcerated? 

Gender Studies is a multi-disciplinary field that bridges many academic disciplines, including history, sociology, ethnic studies, political science, literature, and global studies. Students could develop research questions related to any number of reproductive topics, including abortion, transnational surrogacy, transracial adoption, motherhood, birthing, sexual health education, breastfeeding, and so on. Some more specific examples include (but are not limited to!): 1) Policies and Laws; 2) Media related to reproduction; 3) Cross-cultural and comparative approaches to giving birth 4) Reproductive issues women in prison experience. Students could conduct a film studies analysis of documentaries about transnational surrogacy, examine how policies related to transnational surrogacy differ throughout the world and interview people who work for international surrogacy agencies.


High school students interested in learning about gender studies and/or getting some basic grounding in gender and feminist studies in any field. This is also an excellent course to prepare for college writing and the kinds of literary analyses performed in college classrooms.


Workshop Expectations

All students in this workshop will conduct original research. With support from the Professor, students will learn how to: formulate original research questions, develop a hypothesis, conduct a literature review, choose relevant methodologies, and analyze data.

Past Students' Research Projects

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