My research interests primarily focus on delineating moral obligations associated with institutional roles as well as securing justice for vulnerable populations, including mothers, children, and the elderly. ​ 

My dissertation examines justice and gender within the family, and I address the following questions:

- Is the family the best social arrangement for child-rearing as opposed to an alloparenting scheme or state-run orphanage?

- Should the state impose a licensing scheme to ensure children are raised by appropriately qualified parents?

- What is the content of parental obligations and the basis for acquiring them?

-  To what extent should the developing preferences and values of children be protected from parental influence?

In July 2020, I will be a visiting research resident at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland. During the residency I will be collaborating with other experts as well as international organizations and NGOs based in Geneva, including WHO and UNHCR, on issues concerning the social implications of emerging assisted-reproductive technologies (ARTs). 

Objectives:

- To investigate the injustices associated with the hegemony of the natural nuclear family schema.

- To investigate how procreation fails to be considered an importantly gendered concept

- To question how emerging ARTs may function to serve, or complicate, goals to make procreation and parenthood more gender egalitarian.

- To analyze how ARTs may negatively affect the perceived value of adoptive parent-child relationships

Willing Mothers: Ectogenesis and the Role of Gestational Motherhood

My course design and pedagogy reflect what I take to be my core responsibility as a teacher: to prepare my students for future challenges that await them beyond the classroom. Relying on my background experience and training in teaching college writing, I design my courses such that students can practice writing philosophy for both academic and public audiences. I also emphasize the value of undergraduate research by way of a simulated conference at the end of the course (including abstracts, oral presentations, and Q&A sessions). See below for sample syllabi I have designed and recently taught.

***Upcoming Talk***

"Potential Uses and Limitations of In-class Simulations"

AAPT/APA Teaching Hub - Teaching Core Texts: Social Contract Theory and Its Critics, Central APA 2020. Abstract

Ectogenesis (artificial womb technology) is currently being studied for the purpose of improving neonatal care. I contend that this technology ought to be pursued in order to address a more pressing problem: the rate of unintended pregnancies. However, ectogenesis threatens to disrupt the natural link between procreation and parenthood that is normally thought to generate rights and obligations for biological parents.  I contend that there remains only one potentially viable account of parenthood: the voluntarist account. The problem is that this account mistakenly presumes a patriarchal divide between procreation and parenthood. By reframing procreation and parenthood from the matrilineal perspective, I argue that gestational motherhood is a role-responsibility that ought to be voluntarily undertaken. If this were the case, all gestational mothers would be, by definition, willing mothers. To make this happen, I argue that ectogenesis technology must be a widely-available reproductive option.

up-piechart-11.gif
Epistemic Injustice and Maternal Mortality

There is an unprecedented rate of maternal mortality in the United States compared to other developed nations, especially among black women. Rather than focusing on the medical causes of maternal death, I believe that epistemic injustice may be the underlying problem. I argue that the shared social understandings of gestational motherhood are insufficient for women to make sense of their own experiences, and this ultimately prevents women from being able to recognize and report potentially life-threatening symptoms. In addition, I investigate how particular legal policies (i.e. criminalization of pregnancy) and interactions with physicians in health care settings prevent women from receiving the appropriate medical care that they would otherwise be inclined to seek out.

Maternal-Mortality-Rates.png

Ageism, Autonomy & Dementia: Person-Centered Care Reconsidered

While modern medicine has provided the ability to prolong one's life, an indirect consequence of this is a demographic shift to an aging population. As the number of individuals affected by dementia continues to escalate, there is an increasing demand to  determine the best practices for providing care. One framework in particular, namely person-centered care, has garnered international attention. This framework suggests that caregivers should strive to preserve continuity between the premorbid and current identity of the individual with dementia. I contend that person-centered care places too much emphasis on an individual’s premorbid identity and, as a result, harbors an implicit and pernicious ageism by systematically discounting the possibility of changing preferences. By drawing a relevantly similar comparison to childrearing, I argue that person-centered care ought to leave room for the evolution of an individual's preferences and values.

dementia sufferers graph.png
Willing Mothers: Ectogenesis and the Role of Gestational Motherhood

Ectogenesis (artificial womb technology) is currently being studied for the purpose of improving neonatal care. I contend that this technology ought to be pursued in order to address a more pressing problem: the rate of unintended pregnancies. However, ectogenesis threatens to disrupt the natural link between procreation and parenthood that is normally thought to generate rights and obligations for biological parents.  I contend that there remains only one potentially viable account of parenthood: the voluntarist account. The problem is that this account mistakenly presumes a patriarchal divide between procreation and parenthood. By reframing procreation and parenthood from the matrilineal perspective, I argue that gestational motherhood is a role-responsibility that ought to be voluntarily undertaken. If this were the case, all gestational mothers would be, by definition, willing mothers. To make this happen, I argue that ectogenesis technology must be a widely-available reproductive option.