Humanizing Birth: Launching Critical Midwifery Studies - University of Humanistic Studies Utrecht , online


Period: 11 July 2022 - 15 July 2022



Globally, the call for the humanization of childbirth is loud and urgent. The amount of childbirth related trauma, the rates of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in BIPOC communities, as well as the reluctance midwifery has to be inclusive of all genders, testify that we are getting something not quite right. Midwifery is often proposed as a way to ensure emotionally and physically safe care for all. While believing in the potential of midwifery, we must be radically critical of how midwifery itself is formed by past and present suppressive structures based on class, race, gender, and coloniality.

There is much research done on midwifery from a biomedical point of view, but there is not much engagement with current critical theory. Midwifery can only be a way to humanize childbirth, however, if we also study it from a critical humanities perspective so that we understand where we should intervene to create anti-capitalist, anti-racist, meaningful, inclusive and sustainable midwifery. In this summer school, we will therefore explore the potential of "Critical Midwifery Studies". Together, we will develop what a critical perspective on midwifery could be by translating and furthering insights from, among others, intersectional and transnational feminist theory, queer theory, marxist feminism, critical race theory, de- and postcolonial theory, and care ethics to midwifery. 

The summer school is organised by the Critical Midwifery Studies Collective, specifically by Anna Horn, Jason Marcus, Raquel Justiniano, Susana Ku, Priya Sharma, Madyasa Vijber, Noëmie Willemen and Rodante van der Waal. 

The summer school is co-hosted by the Chilean Observatory for Obstetric Violence (Michelle Sadler), the University of Cape Town (Jason Marcus), Department of Midwifery Science Amsterdam VUmc & AVAG (Bahareh Goodarzi), and includes a webinar by City University London (Anna Horn). 


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