Friday April 29, 2016 at 4:00 PM EDT
Saturday April 30, 2016 at 5:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar 


Dockser Hall 
Northeastern University School of Law
416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Driving Directions 


The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative 
The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative 

A Workshop on

Reproductive and Sexual Justice

A Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative Workshop


A focus on reproductive and sexual rights has long been a cornerstone of the feminist movement in the United States. The reproductive rights movement has largely been concerned with access to safe and legal abortion, while sexual rights have included a variety of issues related to sexuality including autonomy, privacy, freedom from violence, and reproductive health.  In more recent years, the turn to Reproductive Justice (RJ) has sought to contextualize questions of reproduction and sexuality within a race-conscious framework of social inequality and reproductive oppression. RJ seeks to move beyond matters of individual rights, choice and personal health to address more systemic and institutional impediments to realizing full reproductive and sexual freedom. Importantly, this has also included a concern with government obligations and duties, as well as the legal instruments responsible for producing such inequalities across communities both local and global.  The shift to the RJ framework has also led to greater inclusivity of the concerns facing a broader set of individuals, including an enhanced focus on marginalized populations as well as the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.  

Questions of institutional responsibility, government action and the limitations of individualized models for justice are also of deep concern to vulnerability theory. This workshop will seek to reflect upon the issues of reproductive rights, sexual health, and sexual violence through the lens of vulnerability as a way to advance discussion on related issues of social justice. It invites engagement with the social reality of inequality developed by the Reproductive Justice model, while highlighting the role played by social institutions in promoting or preventing the resilience needed to control our reproductive and sexual destinies. In moving away from anti-discrimination models, vulnerability theory aims to focus on the operation of our most critical public and private institutions, including healthcare and education, the prison system, the judicial system, and the workplace. By foregrounding the operation of these institutional structures, and the uneven distribution of social goods and resilience they provide, it is hoped that new claims for state responsiveness and public welfare may emerge. Papers which take up these tools of institutional analysis to think through longstanding questions of reproductive rights and justice, sexual health and sexual violence are warmly welcomed.