Samira Mehta: Tri-Faith Contraception and the Politics of Race

Dec 7, 2021



Event Description

Tri-Faith Contraception and the Politics of Race

with Samira Mehta

In this talk, which will ultimately be chapter 2 of Mehta’s book, God Bless the Pill: Contraception and Sexuality in Tri-Faith America, Mehta explores the responses of the Protestant Mainline, non-Orthodox Judaism, and some lay Catholics and parish priests to the development of the birth control pill. She traces the development of a definition of responsible parenthood, that both pushed against state sanctioned eugenics at the same time that it upheld a distinctly “Judeo-Christian” and white supremacist set of expectations for American family life.

Samira K. Mehta is an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and of Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Blended Family in America (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) was a National Jewish book award finalist. Mehta’s current academic book project, God Bless the Pill: Sexuality and Contraception in Tri-Faith America examines the role of Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant voices in competing moral logics of contraception, population control, and eugenics from the mid-twentieth century to the present and is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. She has a book of essays entitled The Racism of People Who Love You forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2022. She holds degrees from Swarthmore College, Harvard University, and Emory University.