Please join us for a UNLV Anthropology Talk, given by Dr. Pamela Stone. Dr. Stone is Visiting Faculty at Mt. Holyoke College. There is space for a limited number of audience members to watch the livestream in-person (in CBC C120) or one can register to obtain the WebEx access link to watch online.
Title: Bones, Birth and Bodies: Critical White Feminism in the Deconstruction of Risky Childbirth Narratives
Abstract: The reproductive female body is most often considered in the context of white western biomedical models of risk and fragility, girded by scientific and evolutionary facts. While childbirth risk narratives that pit the maternal body against the birth of the neonate further this praxis, we know today that maternal death is more complicated and less the result of an evolutionary dilemma. Global research shows that females consistently have longer life spans than males despite the fact that they are impacted by higher burdens of illness, hard work, and inequality. Taking into account ways in which racism and sexism have influenced a medicalized perspective of female bodies has been at the heart of my research. My work relies on an intersectional examination of reproductive bodies to unpack these tensions and reclaim the reproductive body as powerful, resilient, and active. In order to push back against risk narratives, I have employed skeletal data with cultural and historical frameworks to consider the ways in science and white patriarchal pedagogy has disabled females. The goals of my research are to illuminate how childbirth is a natural and human process that is culturally contingent, socially constructed, yet universally biologically experienced. In doing this I will also discuss how, through the lens of critical white feminism, I am challenged to consider the broader contexts of my own work in biocultural and bioarchaeological anthropology.