LECTURE: Michele Rivkin-Fish
"The Unmaking of Russia's Abortion Culture: Gender, Class, and the Politics of Family Planning"
Part of the UNC CSEEES Lunch and Learn Series
Summary: This project aims to understand the cultural, institutional, and political dimensions of dramatic transformations underway in post-Soviet reproductive health practices, as the routine use of abortion for fertility control is being replaced by the strategic prevention of unwanted pregnancy. In 1970, official statistics recorded a rate of 254 abortions for every 100 live births; in 1990, this rate was 206, and in 2000, it was 169. By 2009, Russia’s abortion rate was 74: still the highest in the world, but less than half the rate of nine years earlier. At the same, an active anti-abortion movement has taken root, which has the support of the Russian Orthodox Church and global organizations, and aims to legislate restrictions on access to the procedure. This project aims to understand contemporary Russian abortion politics and its implications for the gendering of citizenship by placing them within the historical trajectories of both Soviet- era politics and Russia’s post-Soviet resurgent nationalism, the country’s concerns over fertility decline and sensitivities regarding international intervention. The study also investigates the effects of these
reproductive politics and broader societal changes on Russian women and men’s efforts to navigate their sexual and reproductive lives. It examines how and why certain groups are more able to prevent unwanted
pregnancies, while others are not, in order to understand what the uneven character of shifting reproductive
practices may illuminate regarding stratification in Russia more generally.
Bio: Dr. Margaret Rivkin-Fish is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair at the UNC-CH Department of Anthropology. She received her A.B. from Vassar College in 1990 and her Pd.D from Princeton in 1997. Since 1993, she has undertaken ethnographic research on health and gender in Russia to understand more broadly the social and political changes in that country since the end of state socialism. Her research has more specifically included examining Russia's health care reforms, debates and policies on reproduction and demography, sex education, and the daily struggles of women and men to secure well-being as privatization expands in official and unofficial ways. (Information from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Anthropology website.)
For more information on Dr. Rivkin-Fish, including more information on her many publications and detailed research, click here.
Location: DeBerry Board Room 3009, FedEx Global Education Center. After exiting the elevators, go right through the glass door to the end of the hallway, continue left.
Registration: To register for the luncheon, please email Violet Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.