Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.8 X 0.9 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Dána-Ain Davis is Director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the Graduate Center, CUNY (New York). She is the author of Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and Hard Place.


"Davis explores how medical racism impacts black women... The work is unique in that it is the first to focus on the subject as it relates to professional working women and provides evidence that black women across all classes still have a higher rate of premature births than other women."-- "Library Journal"
"As a white NICU nurse, I came to read Reproductive Injustice because I suspected I was participating in medical racism, but had never learned the relevant history to identify how, or critical race theory to know what to do about it. Reading Dr. Davis' work, it was devastatingly easy for me to see how current practices in my NICU workplace reflected racist ideologies born from American slavery. As the work repeatedly '[reiterates] racism's grammar, ' Reproductive Injustice gave me the vocabulary to begin to challenge it."-- "Words of Choice"
"Reproductive Injustice provides a powerful look at the disturbing and lingering disparity in premature births occurring among black women... Davis presents a deterritorialized ethnography that covers time and space: her fieldwork with mothers, birth workers, and hospital staff illuminates a rich narrative encompassing black women's reproduction, the history of the March of Dimes, and development of the neonatal intensive care unit. A must read for students of anthropology, sociology, and medicine, particularly practitioners working with pregnancy and childbirth."-- "Choice"
"Davis brings context to the large-scale statistics and inferences that are built of individuals' stories. Part of the afterlife of slavery has been the tendency to explain away statistics by singling out black women and blaming their individual behaviors, treating each woman in isolation rather than pointing to systemic inequities and toxic stress and their effects on health. Telling multiple individuals' stories in aggregate works against this tendency; it creates a picture of structural racism ... [and] paints an alarming picture of how medical racism affects black women's health and black infant prematurity."-- "Christian Century"
"As anthropologists, we should hope that Reproductive Injustice finds audiences outside of the academy, as it is an excellent example of the continuing relevance of the discipline, generally--and ethnography, specifically--in contemporary conversations about race in the United States."-- "Medical Anthropology Quarterly"
"What makes Davis' timely contribution in Reproductive Injustice especially powerful is her careful and well-documented insistence that we must understand the racial disparities in birth outcomes--and in particular, higher rates of premature birth among Black women--as a product of structural racism and its numerous manifestations in medicine and everyday life."-- "Social Force"
"Reproductive Injustice [...] highlights the troubling role medical racism plays regarding Black women who have given birth to premature and low weight infants, as well as their families."-- "Journal of African American History"
"[An] essential reading for social workers and anyone interested in understanding health disparities [...] A call to action to medical providers, social workers, and those involved in health disparities research, practice, and/or advocacy."-- "Journal of Women and Social Work"