Dr Erica Millar

Erica Millar
Lecturer
School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts

Erica's research expertise is in the sociology and cultural politics of reproduction. She is interested in representations of reproduction, systems of stratified reproduction, reproductive justice movements, and biopolitics. Erica's most recent research is on the cultural politics of abortion. Her project combines feminist theory with theories of emotion, neoliberal governmentality,critical race studies and biopolitics to examine how the decisions women make about their pregnancies are regulated in the late modern era. She is especially concerned with identifying, theorising, and historicising the emotions that circulate alongside representations of abortion, including maternal happiness, abortion shame, and foetocentric grief. She has published several articles on the topic and her monograph Happy Abortions: Our Bodies in the Era of Choice has recently been published by Zed Books:

https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/happy-abortions/

The book has been described by Sinéad Kennedy of the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment as ‘A provocative and important book that every pro-choice advocate should read.’

Erica taught gender studies, sociology, history, and socio-legal studies across several universities in Victoria before she moved to the University of Adelaide in 2015.

She can supervise theses on all of the above topic areas, as well as the more general areas of the sociology of inequalities, reproduction, biopolitics, pregnancy, critical race studies, settler colonialism, and contemporary Australian history.

Connect with me

Dr Erica Millar

Erica's research expertise is in the sociology and cultural politics of reproduction. She is interested in representations of reproduction, systems of stratified reproduction, reproductive justice movements, and biopolitics. Erica's most recent research is on the cultural politics of abortion. Her project combines feminist theory with theories of emotion, neoliberal governmentality,critical race studies and biopolitics to examine how the decisions women make about their pregnancies are regulated in the late modern era. She is especially concerned with identifying, theorising, and historicising the emotions that circulate alongside representations of abortion, including maternal happiness, abortion shame, and foetocentric grief. She has published several articles on the topic and her monograph Happy Abortions: Our Bodies in the Era of Choice has recently been published by Zed Books:

https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/happy-abortions/

The book has been described by Sinéad Kennedy of the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment as ‘A provocative and important book that every pro-choice advocate should read.’

Erica taught gender studies, sociology, history, and socio-legal studies across several universities in Victoria before she moved to the University of Adelaide in 2015.

She can supervise theses on all of the above topic areas, as well as the more general areas of the sociology of inequalities, reproduction, biopolitics, pregnancy, critical race studies, settler colonialism, and contemporary Australian history.

Erica's dissertation and subsequent publications have focused on the cultural politics of abortion. She has also published on abortion activism and gendered identity formation. Her first monograph Happy Abortions: Our Bodies in the Era of Choice will be published by Zed Books (London) in December 2017. 

A brief summary of Happy Abortions:

Happy Abortions  is a groundbreaking account of abortion in the neoliberal present, interrogating a new commonsense that is simultaneously ‘pro-choice’ and ‘anti-abortion’. Although abortion is commonly viewed to be a woman’s choice, a dominant mode of rendering what the abortion choice actually entails and how women experience it circulates accross several discursive sites and geographical contexts. Thus, while it would prove unpopular to insist that all pregnant women should carry their pregnancies to term, the idea that abortion could or should be a happy experience for women is virtually unrepresentable in the current socio-political landscape. Instead, an array of negative emotions—particularly grief, shame, regret and distress—dominate the representational terrain of abortion. The emotions of abortion contrast sharply with the position motherhood occupies as the unassailable placeholder for women’s happiness. Erica Millar explains how cultural and political forces continue to circumscribe the decisions women make about their pregnancies, forces that are commonly disguised under the rhetoric of choice. In doing so, she provides an account of how women’s freedom is constrained in the neoliberal era of choice. 

 

Appointments

Date Position Institution name
2015 Lecturer University of Adelaide
2014 - 2014 Lecturer La Trobe University
2013 - 2014 Tutor and Research Assistant Melbourne Law School
2013 - 2013 Lecturer Deakin University
2003 - 2013 Sessional Lecturer, Teaching Assistant and Tutor University of Melbourne

Awards and Achievements

Date Type Title Institution Name Amount
2014 Award Australian Women's and Gender Studies PhD Award

Education

Date Institution name Country Title
University of Melbourne Australia Master of Arts (History)
University of Melbourne Australia PhD (Gender Studies)

Research Interests

Australian History, Cultural Studies, Cultural Theory, Culture, Gender, Sexuality, Gender Specific Studies, Gender Studies, Historical Studies, History, Law and Society, Postcolonial Studies, Poststructuralism, Social Theory, Sociology

Journals

Year Citation
2016 Millar, E. (2016). Mourned choices and grievable lives: the anti-abortion movement’s influence in defining the abortion experience in Australia since the 1960s. Gender and History, 28, 2, 501-519.
10.1111/1468-0424.12220
2015 Millar, E. (2015). ‘TOO MANY’ : anxious white nationalism and the biopolitics of abortion. Australian Feminist Studies, 30, 83, 82-98.
10.1080/08164649.2014.998457
2015 Millar, E. (2015). Women's history as entertainment. History Australia, 12, 2, 255-256.
2015 Millar, E. (2015). Choice-makers or failures: providing a genealogy of abortion shame and shaming. Law & History, 2, 114-145.
2014 Millar, E. (2014). The Foetal Condition: A Sociology of Engendering and Abortion. Australian Feminist Studies, 29, 79, 103-105.
10.1080/08164649.2014.913471

Books

Year Citation
2017 Millar, E. (2017). Happy Abortions: Our Bodies in the Era of Choice. United Kingdom: Zed Books.

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2017 Millar, E. (2017). Feminism, Foetocentrism and the Politics of Abortion Choice in 1970s Australia. In S. Stettner, K. Ackerman, K. Burnett & T. Hay (Eds.), Transcending Borders: Abortion in Past and Present (pp. 121-136). Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
10.1007/978-3-319-48399-3_8
2014 Lemmings, D. & Brooks, A. (2014). The emotional turn in the humanities and social sciences. In D. Lemmings & A. Brooks (Eds.), Emotions and Social Change: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (pp. 3-18). New York ; London: Routledge.
10.4324/9780203728277
2014 Millar, E. (2014). Abortion, selflessness and "Happy Objects". In D. Lemmings & A. Brooks (Eds.), Emotions and Social Change: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (pp. 196-213). New York: Routledge.

Theses

Year Citation
2013 Millar, E.; (2013); A viable abortion: emotional intelligibilities of choice in contemporary Australia, 1969-2008;
2005 Millar, E.; (2005); Negotiating Change: Australian Women's Wartime Diaries, 1939-45;

I have expertise in the history and cultural politics of reproduction, biopolitics, and Australian history.  I am also interested in the broad subject of the regulation of gendered subjects in the current, neoliberal period as well as postcolonial theory.  I would be happy to supervise projects in these themes or topic areas.  

Committee Memberships

Date Role Committee Institution Country
2014 - 2016 Representative Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association Australia
Position
Lecturer
Phone
83133277
Fax
8313 6309
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Napier Building
Room Number
1 35
Org Unit
Sociology, Criminology & Gender Studies

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