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Reproducing Race, an ethnography of pregnancy and birth at a large New York City public hospital, explores the role of race in the medical setting. Khiara M. Bridges investigates how race—commonly seen as biological in the medical world—is socially constructed among women dependent on the public healthcare system for prenatal care and childbirth. Bridges argues that race carries powerful material consequences for these women even when it is not explicitly named, showing how they are marginalized by the practices and assumptions of the clinic staff. Deftly weaving ethnographic evidence into broader discussions of Medicaid and racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality, Bridges shines new light on the politics of healthcare for the poor, demonstrating how the “medicalization” of social problems reproduces racial stereotypes and governs the bodies of poor women of color.
About the Author
Khiara M. Bridges is Associate Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Boston University.
“Powerful. . . . Bridges builds a thoughtful and important argument. . . . An enormously challenging and valuable book.”
— Rayna Rapp
“The richness of this book’s ethnographic accounts is truly extraordinary, as is a detailed discussion of federal and state programs. . . . Highly recommended.”
“Her work should be read by everyone involved in delivering healthcare to those without class privilege.”
— Rayna Rapp
“A beautifully written and well researched ethnographic study of the delivery of prenatal and birth health care at one of our nation’s most preeminent public hospitals.”
— Laura Mamo
— Leslie Hinkson