Monica J. Casper
Professor & Special Assistant to the President on Gender-Based Violence
Monica J. Casper majored in sociology as a First Gen student at the University of Chicago and was hooked for life. She went on to complete a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, San Francisco, where she studied medical sociology, qualitative methods, health professions, and women’s health. Her dissertation examined the social history of fetal surgery and emergence of the “unborn patient,” analyzing the fetus as a work object (Casper 1998) and situating fetal surgery within contested reproductive politics. That project took her to Auckland, New Zealand and Puerto Rico for ethnographic fieldwork. Based on her dissertation, Professor Casper’s first book, The Making of the Unborn Patient: A Social Anatomy of Fetal Surgery, won the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She has since published many additional books, including most recently Babylost: Racism, Survival, and the Quiet Politics of Infant Mortality, from A to Z. Professor Casper is deeply invested in the promise of sociology as a means to understand and change the world, while also working in and across other fields, including feminist studies, environmental studies, critical animal studies, trauma studies, and disability studies. Building on three decades of work on gender-based violence, she is currently serving as Special Assistant to President de la Torre on Gender-Based Violence and Chair of a national Blue Ribbon Task Force to address the issue.