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Laura Briggs - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Laura Briggs Laura Briggs

Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Laura Briggs is an expert on transnational and transracial adoption and on the U.S. history of taking children for political ends.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Transnational Adoption

Reproduction Politics


Child Separation


An expert on reproductive politics and transnational and transracial adoption, Laura Briggs appears frequently in print, broadcast and digital media to explain these complex issues. She has been featured on PBS and in national publication including Slate, InStyle and Ms. Magazine.


Video Appearances





The Politics of Abortion with UMass Prof. Laura Briggs All Politics is Reproductive - Laura Briggs How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: Laura Briggs


Education (3)

Brown University,: Ph.D., American Civilization

Harvard University: M.T.S., Theology and Secondary Education

Mount Holyoke College: A.B., Women’s Studies

Press Coverage (5)

Who Was the Anti-ERA Activist Phyllis Schlafly?

InStyle  print


Laura Briggs, Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says “Phyllis Schlafly and others like her organized to make the Republican Party hostile to feminists and anti-racists.”

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The Politics of Abortion with UMass Prof. Laura Briggs

WGBY | Public Television for Western New England  tv


Abortion has once again become a hotly contested issue in the United States. UMass Amherst Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Laura Briggs is the author of How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics. Briggs joined Carrie Saldo to discuss the politics of abortion and the history of abortion in the United States.

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How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics With Laura Briggs

WORT Radio  radio


“All politics is reproductive.” That’s the major claim of Laura Briggs, our guest today. She joins Carousel in the studio for a far-reaching discussion of reproductive justice and contemporary American politics.

Laura Briggs discussing reproductive politics

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Queer Families Still Struggle to Access Leave

Slate  online


n her latest book, How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics, Laura Briggs argues that marriage rights for the LGBTQ community were not the movement’s first-choice solution. But in lieu of more comprehensive family rights for all, LGBTQ activists of the ’70s and ’80s began seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples as a more attainable alternative to broader class and racial equity.

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Breaking Down How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics

Ms. Magazine  print


Feminist critic Laura Briggs talks about her new book, "How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump."

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Publications (6)

Taking Children: A History of American Terror (BOOK)

University of California Press

Laura Briggs


Taking Children argues that for four hundred years the United States has taken children for political ends. Black children, Native children, Latinx children, and the children of the poor have all been seized from their kin and caregivers. As Laura Briggs’s sweeping narrative shows, the practice played out on the auction block, in the boarding schools designed to pacify the Native American population, in the foster care system used to put down the Black freedom movement, in the US’s anti-Communist coups in Central America, and in the moral panic about “crack babies.”

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These Are Not My People

Ms. Magazine

Laura Briggs


"... I am so very tired of people telling me that as a white woman, it’s my responsibility “to get my people”—and “convert” the majority of white women who vote Republican into feminist activists. ... It’s critical to be aware of how much racism and sexism—what others call “traditional values”—are central to anti-feminist recruitment. Indeed, anti-feminism is what brought white women into the fold of the Republican Party. "

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How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics ... (BOOK))

University of California Press

Laura Briggs


Today all politics are reproductive politics, argues esteemed feminist critic Laura Briggs. From longer work hours to the election of Donald Trump, our current political crisis is above all about reproduction.

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Somebody's Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption (BOOK)

Duke University Press Books

Laura Briggs


In Somebody's Children, Laura Briggs examines the social and cultural forces—poverty, racism, economic inequality, and political violence—that have shaped transracial and transnational adoption in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first.

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International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (BOOK)

NYU Press

Laura Briggs


In the past two decades, transnational adoption has exploded in scope and significance, growing up along increasingly globalized economic relations and the development and improvement of reproductive technologies. A complex and understudied system, transnational adoption opens a window onto the relations between nations, the inequalities of the rich and the poor, and the history of race and racialization, Transnational adoption has been marked by the geographies of unequal power, as children move from poorer countries and families to wealthier ones, yet little work has been done to synthesize its complex and sometimes contradictory effects.

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Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (BOOK)

University of California Press

Laura Briggs


Original and compelling, Laura Briggs's Reproducing Empire shows how, for both Puerto Ricans and North Americans, ideologies of sexuality, reproduction, and gender have shaped relations between the island and the mainland. From science to public policy, the "culture of poverty" to overpopulation, feminism to Puerto Rican nationalism, this book uncovers the persistence of concerns about motherhood, prostitution, and family in shaping the beliefs and practices of virtually every player in the twentieth-century drama of Puerto Rican colonialism. In this way, it sheds light on the legacies haunting contemporary debates over globalization.

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