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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)

CHS Lecture - CASSIA ROTH: "A Miscarriage of Justice: Women's Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil"

When:Mo 27-01-2020 16:00 - 17:30
Where:Room 1315.0049, Harmonie building

In A Miscarriage of Justice, Cassia Roth examines women’s reproductive health in relation to legal and medical policy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

After the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the onset of republicanism in 1889, women’s reproductive capabilities—their ability to conceive and raise future citizens and laborers—became critical to the expansion of the new Brazilian state. Analyzing court cases, law, medical writings, and health data, Cassia Roth argues that the increasingly interventionist state fostered a culture of condemnation around poor women’s reproductive practices.

By tracing how legal thought and medical knowledge became cemented into law and clinical practice; how obstetricians, public health officials, and legal practitioners approached fertility control; and how women experienced and negotiated their reproductive lives, A Miscarriage of Justice provides a new way of interpreting the intertwined histories of gender, race, reproduction, and the state—and shows how these questions continue to reverberate in debates over reproductive justice and women’s health in Brazil today.