Bio

Renee Cramer is a professor of undergraduate legal studies, and an expert in reprodutive law and politics, critical race and feminist theory, and American Indian law and politics.  She writes at the intersections of contemporary political life and popular culture in the United States.  Cramer’s most recent book, published by Stanford University Press in 2015, is Pregnant with the Stars: Watching and Wanting the Celebrity Baby Bump.  The book examines our cultural obsession with celebrity pregnancy, and argues that in our obsession with those “bumps” we become willing to regulate, surveil, and commodify the pregnancies of average women.  Cramer has been interviewed by The Washington Post and The New York Times; Bitch! magazine offered a favorable early review of the book.  Cramer’s work has appeared frequently on The Conversation USA;  her pieces have been picked up by The New Republic, and Time.  Currently, Professor Cramer has a grant from the National Science Foudnation to study the impact of regulatory policy on midwife-attended out-of-hospital birth; her research looks at midwives in states where their practice is legal, as well as in those states where it is not. 

Cramer earned her PhD in Politics from New York University in 2001; her dissertation on federal acknowledgment of Indian tribes was named Best Dissertation in the Field of Racial and Ethnic Politics by that section of the American Political Science Association.  Oklahama University Press published her book Cash, Color, and Colonialism in 2006; it was the first book-length treatment of federal acknowledgment, and Cramer remains an expert on racialization, casino gaming, and federal regulation of Indian tribes in the U.S. 

As one of her university’s leadership team members in efforts to become an inclusive and welcoming learning environment, Cramer has further expertise in the areas of civil rights, race in the United States, educational access and equity, and strategic leadership for diversity and equity.  She administers the Slay Fund for Social Justice, an endowment at Drake University dedicated to providing funding for grassroots social justice initiatives developed by faculty, staff, and students.

 

Sub-specialites:

Legal
Reproductive law and politics in the United States: birth and access to birth choice and midwifery care; abortion and pregnancy termination; birth control and contraception; Supreme Court jurisprudence on these issues; the history of reproductive politics in the United States; politics of mothering, including “the mommy wars,” parental leave, breastfeeding, and commodification.
14th Amendment Equal Protection Jurisprudence: race, gender, and LGBTQ issues.
United States Supreme Court: contemporary politics and jurisprudence of the Court, especially in areas of reproductive law and politics, American Indian Law, and race and law.

Media & Entertainment
Celebrity Pregnancy and Mothering
Critical Race and Feminist readings of popular culture

Higher Education
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on College Campuses
Affirmative Action
Innovative Pedagogies: including embodied mindfulness
Undergraduate Legal Studies and Liberal Arts Education (I am president of the National Consortium of Law and Justice Studies Programs)

Articles, Publications, Appearances