Conceiving Agency
135 pages
English

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135 pages
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Description

Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women explores the ways Haredi Jewish women make decisions about their reproductive lives. Although they must contend with interference from doctors, rabbis, and the Israeli government, Haredi women find space for—and insist on—autonomy from them when they make decisions regarding the use of contraceptives, prenatal testing, fetal ultrasounds, and other reproductive practices. Drawing on their experiences of pregnancy, knowledge of cultural norms of reproduction, and theological beliefs, Raucher shows that Haredi women assert that they are in the best position to make decisions about reproduction.

Conceiving Agency puts forward a new view of Haredi women acting in ways that challenge male authority and the structural hierarchies of their conservative religious tradition. Raucher asserts that Haredi women's reproductive agency is a demonstration of women's commitment to Haredi life and culture as well as an indication of how they define religious ethics.


Introduction
1. Medicine and Religion: Doctors and Rabbis in Israel
2. Books and Babies: Pathways to Authority
3. The Embodiment of Pregnancy
4. Reproductive Theology: Embodying Divine Authority
5. Abortions, Finances, and Women's Reproductive Authority
Conclusion: Haredi Women's Bodies and Beyond
Works Cited
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 01 septembre 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253052384
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1200€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
2020 by Michal S. Raucher
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-05001-4 (hardback)
ISBN 978-0-253-05002-1 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-253-05003-8 (ebook)
1 2 3 4 5 25 24 23 22 21 20
Pregnant existence entails, finally, a unique temporality of process and growth in which the woman can experience herself as split between past and future.
IRIS YOUNG
To my parents, Gail and Steve
To my spouse, Yoni
To my children, Naftali, Nessa, and Hadas
You are each my past, my present, and my future.
CONTENTS
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Medicine and Religion: Doctors and Rabbis in Israel
2. Books and Babies: Pathways to Authority
3. The Embodiment of Pregnancy
4. Reproductive Theology: Embodying Divine Authority
5. Abortions, Finances, and Women s Reproductive Authority
Conclusion: Haredi Women s Bodies and Beyond
Works Cited
Index
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
IT IS SAID THAT WRITING a book is a solitary activity, and while I have spent many hours alone in a room with my computer, I owe a great deal of gratitude to all the people who made that possible. At the most challenging moments, it has meant everything to know that on the other side of that door were many people who wanted me to succeed and who would help me finish this book.
An ethnography requires, first and foremost, people who are willing to be vulnerable with a researcher. I am fortunate to have learned from many individuals over two years in Jerusalem. I am thankful for the Haredi women who courageously shared intimate details about their lives with me. They took time out of their busy schedules to welcome me into their homes and share their innermost thoughts and experiences. I feel grateful that they trusted me to share their stories. I hope that I have done so with integrity and respect. I also appreciate the doctors, nurses, doulas, and teachers who I interviewed for this book and who allowed me to shadow them at work. The staff at the EFRAT organization allowed me to observe their internal operations. Although I entered all of their lives for only a short period of time, these research participants and interlocutors have had a lasting impression on me as I have become a scholar and a mother.
I have been researching and writing this book for over ten years, but the intellectual journey that began this book can be traced back to my earliest educational experiences. I owe a debt of gratitude to all of my teachers-both formal and informal-who, over the years, instilled in me a love of learning and a desire to keep digging until I could answer my questions. They also modeled for me a life of scholarship and teaching that I continually try to emulate. Notably, Paul Wolpe and Vardit Ravitsky, who were at the University of Pennsylvania when I was a master s student, inspired me to take a social sciences approach to bioethics and to focus my studies on Israel. Paul introduced me to Laurie Zoloth, who was my primary graduate advisor and continues to be a mentor, colleague, and friend as well as a brilliant scholar whose work reminds me of my commitments to the vulnerable Other. Laurie saw something in me before I did, and she has helped me become the kind of thinker and teacher I am today.
In addition to Laurie, many professors and colleagues from Northwestern University helped me develop this project in its early stages. Cristina Traina read my work carefully and asked me questions that pushed me to interrogate my own assumptions. It is because of Cristie that I learned about Christian ethics and entered into conversation with many inspiring colleagues in that field. Helen Schwartzman taught me how to be an ethnographer and to think like an anthropologist. She helped me figure out where my interests fit in with anthropological scholarship and pushed me to engage with larger theoretical analysis. I am so fortunate to have benefited from the mentorship of three brilliant female advisors who modeled successful professional and family lives. Barry Wimpfheimer and Robert Orsi also provided intellectual and professional support over the years.
Colleagues from Northwestern who have become trusted friends have provided me with immense encouragement and critical advice. I especially want to mention Alyssa Henning, my bioethics buddy, who has shared many hotel rooms and meals with me when we were the only students at the Society of Jewish Ethics conferences. We are often mistaken for each other, and I certainly do not mind. She is an insightful thinker who challenges me to clarify my arguments and defend them against my staunchest critics. Amanda Baugh, Tina Howe, and Kate Dugan have provided invaluable support as my dissertation developed into this book, commiserating when necessary and pushing me to improve. Our writing group, the Brilliant Lady Scholars, is one of my favorite things about writing. They have a keen ability to help me figure out what I am saying and then make it better. Thank you all for your friendship.
Colleagues at many institutions turned me from graduate student to professor. At the Jewish Theological Seminary, Shuly Schwartz gave me my first academic job and taught me how to be a professional academic. She protected my time to write, encouraged me, and welcomed a new schedule when I had a baby. Burt Visotzky, Stephen Garfinkel, and Alan Cooper appreciated my somewhat alternative approach to studying Jews and Judaism and demonstrated confidence in me. Julia Andleman and Alisa Braun taught me how to translate my scholarship for a broader audience. I hope that the work within these pages will be read and understood by nonspecialists as well, and if I have done the job correctly, then it is because of them. At the University of Cincinnati, the faculty in the Department of Judaic Studies offered encouragement, support, and friendship. Thank you for creating an academic home for me. I appreciate the mentorship of Erynn Masi De Cassanova, Littisha Bates, and Ethan Katz, and colleagues in the Women s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, in particular Deb Meem. I especially want to acknowledge the feminist writing group that read drafts of these chapters: Ashley Currier, Michelle McGowan, Carolette Norwood, Valerie Weinstein, Gergana Ivanova, and Sunnie Rucker-Chang. This group provided me with critical reading and robust discussions about my work. Currently, at Rutgers University, I am grateful for my colleagues in the Jewish Studies Department, who have supported me as I ushered this project to completion.
Many individuals and institutions made my research possible. Jessica Fain was a wonderful research assistant in Israel, and the archivists at the Knesset Archives were supportive and helpful. Librarians at many academic institutions have helped me find sources, held books for me, and offered an encouraging smile when I was in over my head. Many individuals found citations or sent me news articles over the years. Although I cannot name all of them here, I am appreciative of their help.
I received generous funding for this project as well. The Religious Studies Department at Northwestern supported me for the first five years of my PhD and helped me attend conferences all over North America. A Fulbright Fellowship supported my first year of research in Israel, and the Wenner Gren Foundation financed my second year of research. The Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture also contributed to my research funds. The Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern provided funding for my last year of dissertation writing with a Crown Family Fellowship. Finally, the Charles Phelps Taft Research Fellowship at the University of Cincinnati gave me the gift of time to work on this book. Thank you to my colleagues at Taft, especially Adrian Parr, for that opportunity. All of these institutions have truly invested in my success, and for that, I am thankful.
I have also benefited from a wider intellectual community not tethered to any one academic institution, one whose members have helped me develop the ideas contained within this book. A few individuals have read this manuscript in its entirety and offered critical advice in these last stages. Thanks to Liz Bucar, Mara Benjamin, Ayala Fader, and Cristie Traina. Liz raised important questions about audience and focus, helping me amplify my contribution to scholarship on women in religion. Mara believes in this work s contribution to the field of Jewish ethics, and she helped me articulate that. Ayala offered a close reading with the intention of making sure this book clearly reflects the current debates and conversations in the anthropology of Judaism. Her mentorship, as well as that of Orit Avishai and other members of the New York Working Group on Jewish Orthodoxies, has provided me with encouragement during the last year of writing. Alison Joseph, Lynn Davidman, Rebecca Steinfeld, Aana Vigen, Rebecca Levi, and Emily Cook read chapters in various stages and offered critical comments. Kate Ott and Toddie Peters have been interested in my work and invited m

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