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Laura Briggs


(413) 545-1922

W419 South College

Laura is the author of How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (University of California Press, 2016); Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption (Duke, 2012), winner of the James A. Rawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians (History of U.S. Race Relations); Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (American Crossroads Series, University of California Press, 2002); and co-editor with Diana Marre of International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (NYU Press, 2009). She has written more than three dozen articles and book chapters; some of her recent publications have been in Adoption and CultureAmerican Quarterly; Feminist StudiesScholar and the Feminist OnlineAmerican Indian QuarterlyScripta Nova(Barcelona). She is a member of the editorial committee of the American Crossroads and Reproductive Justice series at UC Press, and with Matt Basso, served as book review editor for American Quarterly. She has held fellowships and residencies at the University of Michigan, University of Utah, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Harvard University. She has been part of the organizing collectives of the Tepoztlán Institute for Transnational History and the Thinking Transnational Feminisms Summer Institute. Her education includes a Ph.D. from Brown University, American Studies, 1998, and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

Currently, she is developing earlier work on the foreclosure crisis (as welfare reform redux, targeting above all mothers of color) into a broader project on the uses of debt by the US state as a tool of disenfranchisement, expropriation, and empire in the Caribbean: The Future is Born in Small Places: The Gendered Politics of Freedom, Debt Imperialism, and Unnatural Disaster in Puerto Rico. A second project is a short history of separating children from parents as a way of putting down marginalized communities in rebellion or otherwise construed as threatening, from slavery to freedom, Indian boarding schools to ICWA, Cuba to Central America, and from Obama to Trump’s treatment of asylum-seekers. 


How all Politics Became Reprodutive Politics   From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump (University of California Press, 2017)

Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012). Diana Marre and Laura Briggs, eds.

International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (New York: NYU Press, 2009).

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

"Making Race, Making Sex: Theorizing Torture,” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16:1 (2014): 1-20.

“Wither Women’s Studies in the Current Crisis in Higher Education?” Feminist Studies 39:2 (2013): 1-5. With Faye Ginsburg, Elena Gutiérrez, Rosalind Petchesky, Rayna Rapp, Andrea Smith, and Chikako Takeshita

“Roundtable: Reproductive Technologies and Reproductive Justice,” Frontiers 34:3 (December 2013): 102-25.

"Biopolitics of Adoption,” Scholar and the Feminist Online (Fall 2013).

“Notes from Antigua Naval Base,” American Quarterly 65:2 (June 2013): 303-08. Briggs and Karen Dubinsky

”The Politics of History and the History of Politics,” American Indian Quarterly Special issue: Native Adoption in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia 37: 2 (Spring 2013): 129-35.

"La economía política de la adopción: La neoliberalización del bienestar infantil,” Scripta Nova special issue: El prinicipio del ‘interés superior’ de niñez: Adopción, politicas de acogimiento y otras intervenciones. Perspectivas espaciales y disciplinares comparativas. 16 (Spring 2012).

“Feminism and Transnational Adoption: Politics, Precarity, and the Politics of Raising (Other People’s?) Children.” Feminist Theory 13.1 (April 2012): 81-100.

Courses Recently Taught

  • The Politics of Reproduction
  • Biology of Difference
  • Feminist Theory
  • Transnational Feminisms Race/Gender: Genealogies, Formations, Politics
  • Issues in Feminist Research