Co-directors: Eda Pepi & Kalindi Vora

To meet this moment of great ambiguity in the regulation of reproduction – from the present juridico-political debacle on abortion in the US to the broader uneasiness about declining birthrates in the global north – the Yale Ethnography Hub organized a series of symposia that throw reproductive justice into sharp ethnographic relief.

US Black feminist activists coined the term “reproductive justice” to highlight the needs of marginalized women of color that were being sidelined by the mainstream women’s rights movement. This framework was expanded by other Asian, Latina, and Indigenous feminist scholarship to focus not only on the choice to have or not have children but also on the right to parent children in safe and sustainable communities. It has engendered analyses of the intersection of race, gender, class, and contexts including reproductive choice, environmental justice, incarceration, and healthcare, among others. The symposia use the framework to contextualize the panics in the global north about population decline and abortion in relation to analyses that see family planning in the global south as a cornerstone of what scholars are increasingly calling ‘global apartheid’. In the context of the series, this references how the politics of reproduction in countries in the global north also involves controlling the livelihoods of people in the global south by policing the circulation of migrants, babies, labor, vaccines, and so on. Anti-racist, feminist and queer ethnographic perspectives that are interdisciplinary are particularly well-suited to inductively trace the tensions and contradictions in the necro/biopolitics of both ongoing oppression and the remedy: sustained and organized social responsibility following the specific intimacies in the histories of the given community, the given oppression.

Each event in the series brought into conversation two ethnographers (one senior and one junior) of reproductive justice, one working in the global north and the other on the global south, including those working across these geopolitical imaginaries. The symposia was preceded by brown bag events that Ethnography Hub Graduate Student Fellows organized for the wider graduate student community, providing opportunities to connect with and be mentored by our guest speakers.

Reproductive Justice Across Borders

Patricia Zavella and Siri Suh in conversation with Ali Miller and Eda Pepi



Population Control, Welfare, Environmental Justice

Dana-Ain Davis and Jade Sasser in conversation with Rene Almeling and Kalindi Vora


Perspectives on Reproduction and Bodily Autonomy

S. Lochlann Jain and Chris Hansmann in conversation with Belkys Garcia and Evren Savci