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Course Details

Spring 2011-2012
* GSS 420 / SOC 420 (SA)   na, npdf

Born in the U.S.A.: Culture and Reproduction in Modern America

Elizabeth M. Armstrong

Reproduction is a basic biological process, as well as a fundamental one for all societies. While the biology of human reproduction is universal across time and place, cultural norms and social institutions powerfully inflect and shape the experience of pregnancy and childbirth in every society. This course investigates the history and sociology of reproduction, focusing on the contemporary United States, but with an eye toward other societies for comparison. How, why, and for whom does birth matter? How do reproductive practices reflect gender, race, and class? The course examines the culture, politics, and economics of reproduction.

Sample reading list:
Peter Ellison, On Fertile Ground: A Natural History of Reproduction
Raymond DeVries, A Pleasing Birth
Barbara Katz Rothman, In Labor
Robbie Davis-Floyd, Birth as an American Rite of Passage
Ina May Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Approximately 200-250 pages of reading per week. Students are required to view several films. One 3-5pp. paper, two 5-7pp. papers and one 15-20 pp. paper.

Requirements/Grading:
Papers - 40%
Term Paper(s) - 40%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%

Other information:
A prior course in sociology or anthropology would be helpful, but is not required.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41575 S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W   Friend Center   307   Enrolled:14 Limit:16