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Laura J. Briggs

Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

Laura Briggs

(413) 545-0681

W401B South College

Laura Briggs is professor and chair of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst and an internationally known historian of reproductive politics, who in recent years, has spoken on the subject of adoption in Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, and Mexico City. She has written numerous articles on transnational and transracial adoption in venues from law reviews to history journals to popular books authored by adoptees.

Professor Briggs came to UMass Amherst three years ago with broad administrative experience. At the University of Arizona, she was chair of Gender and Women's Studies and associate professor of anthropology and also served as Associate Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Laura's Ph.D. is from Brown University's Department of American Studies, 1998. 

Professor Briggs has a long history of activism both within institutions and in the community. She writes for and speaks to both academic and community audiences. She is a collective member of the Tepoztlán Institute for Transantional History and has been active on issues of immigration. This year, Professor Briggs was a plenary speaker at the National Women's Studies Association in November. 

Her current project is tentatively titled All Politics are Reproductive Politics: Immigration, Welfare, Gay Marriage, Foreclosure (UC Press).

Research Areas

Studies of U.S. Empire and Transnational History of the U.S. in Latin America
Ethnic Studies
American Studies
Reproductive Politics


Somebody's Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption, (Duke University Press, 2012)

Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2002)

International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (NYU Press, 2009, o-author with Diana Marre)

Articles & Chapters:
Recent articles have been published in the International Feminist Journal of Politics; Feminist Studies; Frontiers; Scholar and the Feminist Online; American Quarterly; American Indian Quarterly; Scripta Nova (Barcelona). 

Awards and Accolades

James A. Rawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians (History of U.S. Race Relations)