Controlling Birth: The Politics of Pregnancy in American Culture--Proposed Special Session (2011 MLA)

full name / name of organization: 
Ginny Engholm
contact email: 

The term "birth control" typically refers to the various technological and behavioral mechanisms intimate couples use to prevent or limit progeny. This panel seeks papers that broaden this term to encompass the myriad ways that society engages in controlling birth. Despite the prevalent view of reproduction as an intensely intimate and personal decision, how and when couples have been able to limit or prevent reproduction have been greatly influenced by larger political concerns—debates over women's roles in society, sexual agency, and sexual desire; eugenically-motivated historical narratives of "excess" reproduction and "race suicide;" and conflicts within the scientific and biomedical discourses of the body, pregnancy, childbirth and the professionalization of obstetrics.

Please send a 250-500 word abstract and a brief C.V. to Ginny Engholm ( by 1 March 2010.