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april, 2019

11apr6:00 pm8:00 pmThe Managed BodyBook Talk with Professor Chris Bobel


Event Details

Please join the Menstrual Health and Gender Justice Working Group in welcoming Chris Bobel to speak about her new book “The Managed Body: Developing Girls & Menstrual Health in the Global South”. This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and SIPA Human Rights Working Group,

“The Managed Body” productively complicates ‘menstrual hygiene management’ (MHM)—a growing social movement to support menstruating girls in the Global South. Bobel offers an invested critique of the complicated discourses of MHM including its conceptual and practical links with the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) development sector, human rights and ‘the girling of development.’ Drawing on analysis of in-depth interviews, participant observations and the digital materials of NGOs and social businesses, Bobel shows how MHM frames problems and solutions to capture attention and direct resources to this highly-tabooed topic. She asserts that MHM organizations often inadvertently rely upon weak evidence and spectacularized representations to make the claim of a ‘hygienic crisis’ that authorizes rescue. And, she argues, the largely product-based solutions that follow fail to challenge the social construction of the menstrual body as dirty and in need of concealment. While cast as fundamental to preserving girls’ dignity, MHM prioritizes ‘technological fixes’ that teach girls to discipline their developing bodies vis a vis consumer culture, a move that actually accommodates more than it resists the core problem of menstrual stigma.

About the Speaker

Bobel is an associate professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and is a faculty fellow in the MHGJ working group. You can read more about Bobel and view selected publications at this link.

“The Managed Body” has also been covered by NPR and the Washington Post.


(Thursday) 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality is the locus of interdisciplinary feminist and queer scholarship and teaching at Columbia University.

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