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Senior Work and Thesis 2013

Addie Cunniff
“Managing Maternal Health: Feminist Thought Toward an Intersectional Discourse in Midwifery”
This essay examines the formation of contemporary midwifery practices and how an intersectional discourse may be integrated into studies of midwifery and maternal health. Feminist scholarship on childbirth emerged with second-wave feminist thought in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the feminist scholarship on childbirth explores women’s experiences without critically assessing how race, class, and ethnicity as well as gender may affect the experience of labor and delivery. Midwifery care differentiates itself from obstetric maternal care in its focus on holistic practices. Yet, midwives are almost entirely white women while the women they serve are largely women of color. I interviewed seven midwives working in racially and economically diverse settings to investigate how a critical feminist perspective on midwifery is incorporated or suppressed within the field. The goal of this research is to expose the lack of intersectional discourse currently available on childbirth and midwifery, spark a different framing of midwifery than has been done previously, and move toward a more critically reflexive approach.

Emily Pedowitz
"PTSD in Women Veterans, a Forgotten History"
Many women in the military are experiencing severe trauma from their experiences in the Iraq War, and once veterans, they are prevented from accessing treatment for this trauma. The reason why this physical and structural violence continues to be inflicted upon women veterans is unclear. To attempt to answer this question and offer a solution, I will re-insert the history behind the creation of trauma as an official disorder. Further, I will analyze U.S. military culture for practices that exacerbate violence against women and the ultimate silencing of this crime, as well as the U.S. media for ways in which they depict women in the military in specific roles, leading to inaccurate stereotypes of military women. Ultimately, I hope to show the multifaceted factors contributing to this problem and to suggest solutions so that women may be granted what they minimally deserve: safe, affordable, and accessible mental health care services.

Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Chellis House Women's Resource Center
56 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753