Mills Professor Co-Edits New Book on Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth

Oakland, CA–March 10, 2016

Mills College Professor of Ethnic Studies Julia Chinyere Oparah has co-edited a new book called Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth.

Oparah commissioned and edited 21 original essays for the book with co-editor Alicia Bonaparte, associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

“One of the messages of the book is black women are taking back our power and transforming birth experiences not only through activism but also on an individual level,” Oparah said. “It says ‘lets look at what’s working today and how black women are transforming the birthing experience in the present moment.”

The book looks at the roots of current reproductive oppression, the history of obstetrical apartheid, and highlights the “birth revolutionaries” who are working to transform black women’s birth outcomes and experiences. Oparah and Bonaparte were interviewed for a story on the book in RH Reality Check, a daily web publication providing news, commentary and analysis on sexual and reproductive health and justice issues, and Oparah spoke about the book in a radio interview onKPFA in Berkeley.

Oparah said the book is a project of Black Women Birthing Justice, an activist group she founded in Oakland.

Oparah has been teaching at Mills College since 1997. She also is associate provost. Her professional interests include African diaspora studies, black British studies, black feminist theory, women of color organizing, transnational prison-industrial complex, women and transgender prisoners, and black women and childbirth.