(cross-listed with 01:840:263, 01:988:220, and 01:790:264)
Religion plays a large role in shaping reproductive practices, norms, and policies. This course explores the intersection of religion and reproduction in the United States and Israel. During the semester we will focus primarily on pronatalism and abortion as two key aspects of reproduction. For each of these issues we will focus on how Jews and Christians, as well as Judaism and Christianity, in the US understand these issues, and wrestle with them internally. A few themes will continually arise: how religious ideas about kinship, women’s sexuality, and concern for demographic continuance are applied through forms of reproduction and reproductive interruption. For comparison, this class will also explore how religion shapes reproductive norms and practices in another national context. Looking at these issues within Israel, students will come to appreciate that religious positions are not monolithic but rather arise from particular cultural contexts. Furthermore, they will see how religion and reproduction intersect differently elsewhere. The course will be centered around ethnographic case studies of reproduction while drawing occasionally on historical analyses and philosophical commentaries. Gender and religion will form the two primary modes of analysis for the study of reproduction. At the end of the semester we will also consider how class and race shape reproductive ideas and practices in the US.
This course fulfills Core requirement CCD.