Humanizing Birth: Launching Critical Midwifery Studies

Course code
Student fee
Course fee
Course Level

Globally, the call for the humanization of childbirth is loud and urgent. The amount of childbirth related trauma, the rates of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in BIPOC communities, and the lack of midwifery that is tailored to people of all genders, testify that we are getting something not quite right. Midwifery is often proposed as a way to ensure emotionally and physically safe care for all. While believing in the potential of midwifery, we must be radically critical of how midwifery itself is formed by past and present suppressive structures based on class, race, gender, and coloniality.

There is much research done on midwifery from a biomedical point of view, but there is not much engagement with current critical theory. Midwifery can only be a way to humanize childbirth, however, if we also study it from a critical humanities perspective so that we understand where we should intervene to create anti-capitalist, anti-racist, meaningful, inclusive and sustainable midwifery. In this summer school, we will therefore explore the potential of "Critical Midwifery Studies". Together, we will develop what a critical perspective on midwifery could be by translating and furthering insights from, among others, intersectional and transnational feminist theory, queer theory, marxist feminism, critical race theory, de- and postcolonial theory, and care ethics to midwifery. 

The summer school is organised by the Critical Midwifery Studies Collective, specifically by Anna Horn, Jason Marcus, Raquel Justiniano, Susana Ku, Priya Sharma, Madyasa Vijber, Hannah de Klerk, Noëmie Willemen and Rodante van der Waal. 

The summer school is co-hosted by the Chilean Observatory for Obstetric Violence (Michelle Sadler), the University of Cape Town (Jason Marcus), Department of Midwifery Science Amsterdam VUmc & AVAG (Hannah de Klerk & Bahareh Goodarzi), and includes a webinar by City University London (Anna Horn). 

To stay up to date with the Critical Midwifery Studies Collective, you can visit our website and follow us on instagram

Image of a diverse group of pregnant people.


Day-to-day programme (PDF)
Course director
Rodante van der Waal


Please see the attached day-to-day program. 

The summer school will be fully online and recorded. The recordings will be made available for all the participants immediately after the lectures. Since we have keynotes and participants from different time-zones, participants who have work- and care-responsibilities, or participants who might want to take breaks in between, it is not mandatory to be attend all sessions live. 

Target audience

The summer school is open globally to everyone interested in the humanization of birth, specifically academics, PhD-students, activists & birth-workers (midwives, nurses, doula’s, obstetricians, BA- and MA-level midwifery, obstetric, and medical students) 

Study load

2 ECTS, 56 hours (16 hours preparation in advance). 


Course fee:
Student fee:
Student fee
Fee covers
Course + course materials
Extra information about the fee

Price: 400 euros is the full price. Paying the full price makes it possible for us to offer reduced prices as well. 

There are three reduced price options: 1) 200 euros; 2) 10 euros; 3) 0 euros. 

Everybody should decide for themselves what is reasonable for them to pay. Please write in your application if you want to make use of a reduced price. Then, we can adjust the price manually after your application. 

There are combinations with other summer schools possible: 

  1. You can follow the morning program of the summer school on equity and ethics in global health for an extra 50 euros. Please state in your application if you want this option.
  2. There is a 30 euro discount if you follow this summer school in combination with the summer school on maternal and neonatal global health on both summer schools.


Extra application information

Please indicate on your application if you’re a Spanish non-English speaker. With enough applications we will arrange for the full week to be translated into Spanish. For all the information in Spanish, please click here


More information


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
08 June 2022