Percy Skuy Lecture 2023 (In person or Live Stream)
Contraception, Culture Wars, and Congregations, presented by Samira K. Mehta, PhD
March 2nd, 12-1:30 pm, Clark Hall, Room 206, 11130 Bellflower Rd., Cleveland Ohio 44106
Today, conventional wisdom puts religious actors on the opposite side of reproductive justice in the context of political debate in the United States. But history tells us that was not always true. In the decades after World War II, most Protestants and Jews were in relatively uncomplicated consensus that contraception was a moral good, and though they were in tension with the formal teachings of the Church, many Catholics agreed. This talk asks what happened to get us from this moment of general consensus in the mid-twentieth century to the culture wars polarization we see today in debates over contraception and abortion.
Samira K. Mehta is the Director of Jewish Studies and an Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections of religion, culture, and gender, including the politics of family life and reproduction in the United States. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) was a National Jewish book award finalist. She is also the author of a newly released book of personal essays called The Racism of People Who Love You (Beacon Press, 2023). 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 is also beginning a project for Princeton University Press called A Mixed Multitude: Jews of Color in the United States. Mehta is the primary investigator for a Henry Luce Foundation funded project called Jews of Color: Histories and Futures. She is a member of the board of Feminist Studies in Religion, where she serves as the co-editor of the blog; co-chairs the steering committee of the North American Religions Program Unit at the American Academy of Religion; and is a Creative Editor at the journal American Religion. She holds degrees from Swarthmore College, Harvard University, and Emory University.
The event is free, registration is required (before March 1st). You can attend In person or live stream the event.
Register for the Skuy, 2023 Lecture
This lecture is part of the Cleveland Humanities Festival, 2023