The World That Roe Made/The World That Made Roe

July 2021

Jane Kamensky, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Mary Ziegler, Florida State University

Anticipating the fiftieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing a right to choose abortion, this exploratory seminar brings together leading experts to discuss the past and future of reproduction in America. The organizers seek to catalyze a discussion that moves beyond the predictable domains of law and history to embrace the many disciplines that Roe has touched, and which are necessary to understand the decision, its antecedents, and its fallout, disciplines as various as moral philosophy, political science, and neonatology. While our conversation and intellectual commitments will be geographically rooted in the United States—the polity that made and was remade by Roe—it will also gesture in global directions, considering questions of population control, transnational adoption and surrogacy, and other reproductive technologies and ideas that cross borders.

The organizers hope that conversations seeded in this seminar will yield two books, a conference, an exhibition, college and law school courses, and a civic renewal toolkit for teaching and talking about hot-button issues. We expect that this exploratory gathering will also nourish ongoing efforts by Harvard Radcliffe Institute's Schlesinger Library to acquire the papers of individuals and the records of organizations central to the pro-life movement.