Department of Economics Fall 2019 Brown Bag Series

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Date(s) - 11/04/2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Clark C307

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The Brown Bag Seminar Series offers current ECON graduate students the opportunity to present ongoing research or to workshop new ideas. The seminars are held on Mondays from 12:00-1:00pm in Clark C307 and are open to everyone.

For more information on the series or specific seminars, please contact Wisnu Nugroho at or Ashish Sedai at

November 4th’s presenter is ECON Ph.D. graduate student Emily Hrovat. She will be presenting her paper: “On Life and Liberty: Tracing the Roots of Modern Population Control through Classical Political Economy.”

Abstract: While contraception is far from a new development in human history, its methods as well as its controversy are relatively recent. Modern contraception has played a major role in women’s liberation over the past century. However, its availability and effectiveness have also made it a useful weapon for the powerful to force or coerce the powerless into limiting their reproductive capabilities, serving as the practical culmination of the population theory proposed by Thomas Malthus over 200 years ago. This paper explores the impact and implications of Malthus’ theory on modern practices such as forced sterilization or contraceptive abuse against the social underclass (namely, poor Black and brown women). I attempt to bridge the gap between Malthus’ population theory, Mill’s doctrine On Liberty, and modern methods used to curb the growth of the American population by controlling the poor. Through the lens of reproductive politics, I aim to show how Mill and the Neo-Malthusians’ focus on liberty has contributed to a world in which the right to true freedom (that is, freedom of reproductive choice) is dependent on holding social power.