Parekh, Maya

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Women’s and Gender Studies

Minor: English (Concentration in Creative Writing)

Thesis Director: Sanjukta Mukherjee, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Faculty Reader: Sonnet Gabbard, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Bio: Maya Parekh is a senior in the Women’s and Gender Studies BA/MA program. She is President of the Women’s and Gender Studies Honors Society and is most interested in reproductive justice activism. She became specifically interested in the use of midwifery as decolonial resistance after learning more about medical violence and decolonial feminist frameworks. She hopes to one day be able to use her research to amplify the voices of Indigenous people who have been harmed by colonial systems of medicine and to shed more light on the existing work of indigenous-led organizations and groups leading the decolonization of midwifery.

Abstract: Maya’s project is a transnational comparative analysis of the use of midwifery by indigenous peoples as anti-colonial resistance in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. She will employ a transnational feminist lens to shed light on how the institution of Western medicine was founded on colonialism and how the medicalization of birthing and pregnancy continues to harm many indigenous peoples, particularly women. She will draw upon indigenous feminist frameworks to understand the use of midwifery as a decolonial practice to resist the colonial model of care, ensure cultural safety, and promote reproductive choice. Additionally, she will use case studies to describe the importance and intricacies of midwifery in many indigenous communities.

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