The debate over abortion only intensified after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, who ruled in Roe v. Since the ruling, 12 states have banned or severely restricted abortion care, and at least 10 other states have bans pending or on hold.
In response, the Office of the Provost at Washington University in St. world.
Over the course of the semester, students in the 1.5 credit hour “Politics of Reproduction” course (I50 INTER D 310) will explore issues including reproductive health, law, disability, economics, film, politics, reproductive justice and religion through a series of personal events and public webinars with leading scholars from nearly every school as well as guest speakers. There are also options to complete the work asynchronously.
In designing the course, Rebecca Wanzo, professor and chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences, said she wanted to create a course that would appeal to students from every discipline and give them a variety of different knowledge bases they need to think more holistically about the subject.
“I want people to recognize how the debate around abortion touches almost every aspect of life, and that’s one of the things that interdisciplinary thinking helps you,” Wanzo said.
“We are fortunate to have some leading authorities on these issues on campus, scholars such as Marie Griffith, author of the book ‘Moral Combat;’ Susan Appleton, a nationally recognized expert in family law and feminist legal theory; and Zakiya Luna, an influential reproductive justice thought leader.
The course launched in July with a public event in which the School of Medicine’s Tessa Madden, MD, and Dineo Khabele, MD, discussed what reproductive health looks like post-Dobbs. The event was recorded for students to watch asynchronously. Additional speakers include:
Bringing these diverse, internationally renowned scholars together in one course is a unique opportunity for students.
“‘Politics of Reproduction’ should be an exploratory course that gives people time to think through issues in a way that may be challenging for them or out of their comfort zone.”
“‘Politics of Reproduction’ should be an exploratory course that gives people time to think through issues in a way that may be challenging for them or out of their comfort zone,” Wanzo said.
Rather than shying away from sensitive issues, Wanzo said the class addresses them head on, building on a variety of research and scholarship from economists to religious and legal scholars, philosophers and more. People from all political perspectives are welcome to take the course; however, all students are expected to engage in respectful conversation about these topics, just as they do in other classes.
“Because that’s what we do, as members of the university community. We model better forms of debate and conversation than we might see elsewhere in our culture,” Wanzo said.
During the final session, faculty members from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the McKelvey School of Engineering lead students in a workshop where they think about what they want reproductive futures to look like for themselves and the wider world.
‘In St. Louis, for St. Louis’ and beyond
The course “Politics of Reproduction” was inspired by another popular pop-up interdisciplinary course, “The Pandemic: Science and Society,” offered by Arts & Sciences in the summer of 2020. More than 1,200 students completed the online course. While this course will be smaller in scale — because it takes place while students have other course options — it’s still designed to give as many students as possible a chance to take the course, Wanzo said.
Many of the lectures this semester will be open and available to the public, allowing the university to share its knowledge and expertise with the community and help shape the discourse around the issues, Wanzo explained. This may interest you : QU Announces Recipients of Art Scholarships for Fall 2022.
“In developing this course, we are modeling what the future of academia can offer, where university communities across disciplines come together to think through complicated issues – not just for its small, valued community, but for society,” said Wanzo.
This course would not be possible without the support of the protest office and faculty members, Wanzo said.
“Overwhelmingly, faculty members were happy to participate in this collaborative project, and I am deeply grateful to them,” she added.
“A university has a responsibility to prepare students for citizenship, and to provide opportunities to think deeply about issues that matter. This course gives students a wider range of tools to discuss and understand