On this episode, Dr. Lee Pierce
(she/they)--Asst. Prof. of Rhetoric and Communication at the State University of New York at Geneseo--interviews Dr. Clare Daniel
(she/hers)--Administrative Assistant Professor of Women’s Leadership at Tulane University--on her judicious new book Mediating Morality: The Politics of Teen Pregnancy in the Post-Welfare Era
from University of Massachusetts Press (2017). Mediating Morality
is a contemporary exploration of the construction of teen pregnancy in legal events, activism, media campaigns, television, film, and across many domains of popular-political culture since the dismantling of the welfare state, which Daniel definitively places in the year 1996. Daniel argues that these domains of public thought have merged to reconstruct teen pregnancy as a privatized and deeply personal issue of moral failure--what Daniel, following Lauren Berlant, describes as intimate citizenship--rather than symptomatic of ineffective policies that reproduce racist, classist, and sexist structures of inequality. In addition to engaging readings of popular culture texts such as the movie The Pregnancy Pact
and pregnancy prevention campaigns, Mediating Morality
is also closely attuned to the legal and political events since 1996 that have authorized and capitalized upon an approach to teen pregnancy that absolves the state of responsibility.