Department of Sociology

Vrinda Marwah

MA, London School of Economics and Political Science



Reproductive health and technologies, Gender and labor, Surrogacy, Sexuality, Race and Ethnicity, Qualitative Methodology, Contemporary India, Social Movements, State


Vrinda Marwah is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. Her primary research interests are in reproductive health and women's labor in contemporary India.

Vrinda’s Masters thesis focused on hijras in India, and examined debates around sexual subjectivity, identity, and terminology in the context of HIV/AIDS, queer mobilisation and legal reform.  She received her MSc in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics, and her BA in Political Science from the University of Delhi.

Vrinda has worked in Delhi at the research, capacity building, and policy advocacy levels with feminist groups Sama and CREA.


SOC 307K • Fertility And Reproduction

44748 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 0.102
CDGC SB (also listed as WGS 301)


Why do birth rates rise and fall?  How can the U.S. have both record rates of childlessness as well as the highest rates of teen childbearing and unwanted pregnancy in the industrialized world?  Why does educating women lower birth rates faster than any population control program in the Third World?  This course will explore when, why, how, and with whom Americans bear children, and how we compare to other developed and developing countries in the world.  We will explore infertility and its treatments, the ethics of surrogacy, voluntary childlessness, the rapid rise of nonmarital childbearing in the U.S. and other countries, the politics of childbirth and risks of maternal mortality in developed and developing countries, and the declining populations and rapid aging  of  rich countries including Japan, Italy, and Spain where women have basically stopped having children. 

Texts:  Available at Coop

Liza Mundy, Everything Conceivable, NY: Anchor Books, 2007

Michelle Goldberg, Means of Reproduction , NY: Penguin Bookds, 2010

Grading and Rrequirements:

Two opinion essays: 30%

Midterm exam:       40%

Final exam:             20%

Class participation: 10%

SOC S307K • Fertility And Reproduction-Wb

83493 • Summer 2021
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM
Internet; Synchronous
CDGC SB (also listed as WGS S301)


In an ideal world, all people would have the freedom to decide whether, when, and how to have children. Needless to say, we do not live in an ideal world. In this course, we examine how, and to what effect, social forces act on people’s reproductive lives and decision making. Our goal will be to analyze the politics of reproduction, and drawing on readings, films, discussions, group work, and assignments, answer the following questions: What even is reproduction—is it just childbearing and rearing, or is it more than that? How do the pressures on people’s reproductive lives vary by social positions of race, gender, class, nation, etc.? And can reproduction serve as a lens through which to understand our society and ourselves?


Required Texts (the Dean’s Office will not accept “Course Packet” or “TBA”)



Jeffrey Sartin, 2004. J. “Marion Sims, the Father of Gynecology: Hero or Villian?” Southern Medical Journal. 95(5): 500-505.

Roberts, D. (2015). Reproductive justice, not just rights. Dissent, 62(4), 79-82.

Nixon, L. (2013). The right to (trans) parent: a reproductive justice approach to reproductive rights, fertility, and family-building issues facing transgender people. Wm. & Mary J. Women & L., 20, 73.

Greenhalgh, S. (2003). Science, modernity, and the making of China's one‐child policy. Population and development review, 29(2), 163-196.

Inhorn, Marcia. “A Male Infertility Crisis Is Coming. The Middle East Can Help.”  New York Times, October 21, 2017

Mason, K. O. (1997). Explaining fertility transitions. Demography, 34(4), 443-454 

Hendrixson, Ojeda. “Confronting Populationism: Feminist Challenges to Population Control in an Era of Climate Change.” Gender, place and culture: a journal of feminist geography 27.3 (2020): 307–315. 


Grading Policy

40% Reproductive history interview + 6 pages of reflection essay

40% Presentation in pairs

20% Participation grade

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086