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:
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.
|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|
|2014||Award||Australian Women's and Gender Studies PhD Award|
|University of Melbourne||Australia||Master of Arts (History)|
|University of Melbourne||Australia||PhD (Gender Studies)|
|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.
|2015||Millar, E. (2015). ‘TOO MANY’ : anxious white nationalism and the biopolitics of abortion. Australian Feminist Studies, 30, 83, 82-98.
|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.
|2017||Millar, E. (2017). Happy Abortions: Our Bodies in the Era of Choice. United Kingdom: Zed Books.|
|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.
|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.
|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.|
|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.
|2014 - 2016||Representative||Australian Women's and Gender Studies Association||Australia|