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.
Khiara M. Bridges is Associate Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Boston University.
“Bridges radically and actively demonstrates the truth of her claims through outstanding ethnography and analysis. Eminently praiseworthy.”—Robbie Davis-Floyd, author of Birth as American Rite of Passage and lead editor for British Models That Work
“An important and timely contribution to recent scholarship on race in science, medicine, and public health. From the first page, I did not want to put the book down.”—Lundy Braun, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Africana Studies, Brown University
“There is no doubt that this is an important topic, and one the author is well-positioned to explore. Very, very powerful."—Cheryl Mattingly, author of Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots