Geographies of (social) reproduction, care, and intellectual labor in the university

Authors: Emily Mitchell-Eaton*, Bennington College
Topics: Gender, Higher Education, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: reproductive rights; care work; the university; surveillance; emotional geographies; Black & Latinx feminisms
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: 8210, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Key reproductive rights—health care, childcare, abortion access, and paid leave for pregnancy, newborn care, miscarriage, and abortion—are under relentless attack in the university, with uneven effects for those of us within it. A broad-based resistance to reproductive injustice must extend beyond the concerns of white upper-class women, as decades of scholarship and praxis from Women of Color feminists have shown. This article draws on autoethnography and participant observation to map out a partial geography of reproductive (in)justice in the academy. It does so by examining three key sites in/of the university where reproductive rights and rightlessness come into focus, and where analyses of race, class, and labor precarity are particularly imperative: bathrooms, campus childcare centers, and the internet. It is in these three sites in particular, I argue, that both the intellectual work and the care work that sustain the university are carried out and surveilled. To conclude, this article outlines a future framework for connecting people performing intellectual labor to others engaged in reproductive justice struggles, both within and beyond our institutional walls.

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