Dána-Ain Davis is Professor of Urban Studies and Anthropology. She is the director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the Graduate Center.
In the last decade, Davis has focused her attention on reproduction, race and the technologies that assist in reproduction. She has written several articles addressing issues of reproduction and racism including, “The Politics of Reproduction: The Troubling Case of Nadya Suleman”; “Obstetric Racism: The Racial Politics of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birthing”; and “The Bone Collectors.”
She is the author, co-author, or co-editor of five books, the most recent being Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth. Reproductive Injustice received the 2020 Honorable Mention for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing; was a finalist for the 2020 PROSE AWARD, given by the Association of American Publishers; and is listed as one of seven books on anti-racism in New York Magazine. In Reproductive Injustice, Davis examines medical racism in the lives of professional Black women who have given birth prematurely. The book shows that race confounds the perception that class is root of adverse birth outcomes and lifts up the role that birth workers—midwives, doulas, and birth advocates—play in addressing Black women’s birth outcomes.
Additionally, Davis has published Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and Hard Place; Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism in North America with Christa Craven; Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges and Possibilities with Christa Craven; Black Genders and Sexualities with Shaka McGlotten.
Davis has been engaged in social justice, particularly reproductive justice over the last 30 years. She has worked with a number of national reproductive justice organizations; the New York City Department of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Justice initiative; and Scholars for Social Justice. She served on the New York State Governor’s Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes and currently serves on the Birth Equity Collaborative in San Francisco.
Davis is the recipient of several awards the most recent being the Brocher Foundation Residency Fellowship in Switzerland (spring 2020) and the Association of Marquette University Women Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University, in Wisconsin. She will assume the positon of Chair for the fall 2021 semester. Davis is also doula and co-founder of the “Art of Childbirth” which is a free birth education workshop that connects childbirth education and art.
Dána-Ain Davis on The Thought Project - Episode 79