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    Connections Newsletter
    Issue 2                                                                                                                                         Spring Semester 2012


    Notes from the Collaborative

    A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Collaborative Opportunities

    Research & Academic Travel Funding Opportunities

    Collaborative Research Showcase

    2011 Summer-Fall Collaborative Grants Awards

    Snapshot of Summer-Fall Collaborative Grants

    Student-Faculty Development Endowment Fund Award Recipients

    McNair Scholars Presentations

    Student Profiles

    United Nations New York Trip

    Sponsor: Dr. Gratzia Villarroel

    VanSchyndel & Hill-Soderlund


    Important Dates

    Mar. 19, 2012 Collaborative Summer-Fall Grant applications due

    Mar. 29-31, 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

    Apr. 20, 2012 Collaborative Continuation Grant applications due

    May 4, 2012 Student Academic Travel Grant and Attendee Grant applications due





    Snapshot of Summer-Fall Collaborative Grant

    (Un)Natural Birth?: gender Essentialism in Natural Childbirth Debates

    Researchers: Dr. Karlyn Crowley & Gretchen Panzer (English and Women's & Gender Studies)

    The documentary The Business of Being Born (2007) critiques the American hospital birth system as over-medicalized, unnecessarily expensive, and dangerous for both mothers and infants. The goal of the film is for more low-risk pregnant women and their partners to inform themselves of their birth options and opt for natural childbirth rather than be subjected to hospital interventions such as labor induction and caesarean section. After viewing The Business of Being Born, we realized that while we both agree with its central argument—that natural childbirth is a healthy and necessary alternative to medicalized childbirth—we were troubled by the gender essentialist assumptions made by several of the individuals interviewed in the film. For example, these essentialist beliefs sometimes suggest that anything “natural” is always superior or that women have an ancient, even biological intuition about how to birth and parent. These beliefs rest on singular notions of “womanhood” that limit women’s potential and shut down critical, complex discussions about birth and parenting.Book jacket

    To further explore the issue of gender essentialism in the natural childbirth movement, we analyzed roughly thirty books, films, articles, and medical studies on natural and medicalized childbirth. Gender essentialist discourse is present in many of these texts, and we are currently co-writing a scholarly article on this trend and its implications for feminists, parents, and natural childbirth advocates. This article will be published at an opportune moment, as the sequel to The Business of Being Born—a four-part documentary entitled More Business of Being Born—is being released on November 8, 2011. We plan to incorporate this film into our analysis, and we hope that our work will start a critical discussion of the gender essentialist assumptions behind many such natural childbirth texts. 




    St. Norbert Collaborative

    Phone: (920) 403-3147
    Fax: (920) 403-4086

    St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181