September 1, 2021

In light of the recent protests and statements in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizing efforts, the College of Liberal Arts is highlighting how its courses incorporate issues related to Black Lives Matter. We will highlight one course each month.  You can view all of our courses here:

See the description below detailing how CLA faculty advance the anti-racist messaging of Black Lives Matter through assignments, readings, and pedagogical practices that affirm the lives, history, and culture of Black people across the globe. Descriptions fall into one of three categories—Long-Standing Practices, Recent Changes, and Future Plans—designed to demonstrate the ongoing nature of anti-racist efforts:

Instructor: Dr. Lori Baralt
Course: WGSS 375: Reproductive Justice

In WGSS 375: Reproductive Justice, I have always centered and amplified the voices, activism, and scholarship of Black women, as founders and leaders of the reproductive justice movement. The reproductive justice movement and framework was developed in 1994 by a group of 12 Black women who combined the concept of reproductive rights and social justice to address the intersectional experiences of Black women’s reproductive lives. They were not only concerned with access to birth control and abortion, which was the primary focus of white women’s reproductive rights’ activism. They developed the reproductive justice framework asserting that everyone has “the right to have children, not have children, and parent the children they have.” This reproductive justice movement and framework intersects with other social justice movements, including, but not limited to Black Lives Matter, environmental justice, housing justice, prison abolition, and immigrant justice.

In this course, students learn about U.S. history from a reproductive justice framework, scrutinizing the reproductive laws, policies and practices that were meant to cement the U.S. as a white supremacist country from the Native genocide and slavery through the present. We then center the work of Loretta Ross and other BIPOC who are leading the current reproductive justice movement as well as specific reproductive justice organizations in California. Many students connect with these organizations and get involved in the movement directly during or after this course. Throughout the course, in addition to individual assignments, students work in groups on a reproductive justice topic of their choosing that is presented outside on campus (pre-COVID and hopefully again post-COVID) to share reproductive justice knowledge, activism, and resources with the campus community.