Conference Program

Thursday, March 30


Box lunches available

1014 Tisch Hall

435 S. State St.

"The State of Eugenics" film screening and discussion 5:30pm-7:00pm

This one-day mini-conference will convene a group of interdisciplinary scholars who study historical and contemporary patterns of sterilization and are concerned about social and reproductive justice. The goal of the event is to discuss and compare practices and contexts for medical sterilization in the United States, from the 20th century to the present, exploring patterns in sterilization according to gender, race/ethnicity, disability class, age, sexuality, and medicalization. This mini-conference will review continuities and disjunctures between state eugenic sterilization programs implemented in the first half of the 20th century, population control programs implemented in mid-1900’s, and the contemporary landscape for reproductive justice in which birth control access is increasingly challenged. We will discuss the ways that understanding dynamics of race, ethnicity, disability, class and power in past sterilization abuses can productively inform discussion of reproductive rights in the present context.


Welcome lunch (12-1pm)

Welcome: Alexandra Minna Stern

Panel I. Patterns, Politics, Regret (1pm-2:30pm)

Panel Moderator: Siobán Harlow (Epidemiology, University of Michigan)

        • Liza Fuentes (Guttmacher Institute), Reproductive Technology and Justice: Examining Principles, Promises, and Practices for New Contraceptives
        • Ginny Garcia (Sociology, Portland State University), Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Desire for Reversal of Sterilization among U.S. Women
        • Nicole Novak (Population Studies Center, University of Michigan), "Consent" to Sterilization in California's State Eugenics Program, 1936-1952

Panel II. Welfare, Disability, Policy (2:45pm-4:15pm)

Panel Moderator: Sharon Kardia (Epidemiology, University of Michigan)

        • Natalie Lira (Latina/o Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), “Of Low Grade Mexican Parentage”: Race and Disability in the Justification of Confinement and Sterilization
        • Sonya Borrero (School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh), Investigating Racial and Socioeconomic Differences in the Use of Tubal Sterilization
        • Molly Ladd Taylor (History, York University), Eugenic Sterilization as a Welfare Policy: The Case of Minnesota

Wrap-Up and Next Steps (4:30pm-5:00pm)

Moderator: Kate O'Connor (American Culture)

Closing Comments: Nicole Novak and Alexandra Minna Stern

Film Screening: The State of Eugenics (5:30pm-7:00pm)

Followed by conversation with filmmaker Dawn Sinclair Shapiro