Faculty of Arts
Department of Political Science

Elena CarusoCountry of origin: Italy

Academic degrees and Institutions:

  • PhD in Law - University of Kent, United Kingdom (2023)
  • LLM in International Law - University of Kent, United Kingdom, with distinction (2019)
  • Combined BA/MA degree in Law - University of Catania, Italy (2015)

Describe your work and how it embodies the nature of the AMTD postdoctoral program.

The end of the constitutional protection of abortion rights in the United States has catalyzed a re-examination of the role of the state and international organizations in the regulation of abortion.

Newly-imposed restrictions have drawn attention to self-managed abortions (SMA) — the termination of pregnancy outside of medical settings — and recently, this practice has largely taken place using abortion pills (e.g., mifepristone and misoprostol) through the support of telehealth services, the use of which is recommended by the World Health Organization (2022). SMA activism has mitigated the negative effects of anti-abortion laws and has proven that illegal abortions can be safe, offering important lessons for the provision of abortion care.

My project aims to question the role of the state in the regulation of abortion and to draw important lessons for the future of health technologies.

What are some activities you hope to accomplish during your postdoctoral appointment at University of Waterloo?

I would like to strengthen my record of publications and expand my network with scholars in Canada and the US.

Have you been the recipient of any other major or donor-funded awards?

I carried out my PhD at the University of Kent, England thanks to a four-year grant from the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC), awarded on a very strict and highly competitive basis.

Do you have any relevant academic projects you would like to share?

Not at the moment.

Why did you choose the University of Waterloo?

The University of Waterloo is the ideal setting to develop my project.

The University of Waterloo’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 aims to re-center academic institutions as locus of innovation and cutting-edge research. My project aligns with two of the impact themes of the strategic plan. First, my research responds to the University’s commitment to enable interdisciplinary, impactful scholarship for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at the University of Waterloo as part of its commitment to ‘developing talent for a complex future’. Second, my project contributes to the University’s commitment to ‘advancing research for global impact’ through its focus on health technologies, particularly the use of abortion pills and communication technologies in the delivery of health services (e.g., telehealth and telemedicine).

I chose the University of Waterloo to work with my supervisor, Dr. Alana Cattapan, who is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Reproduction, in the Department of Political Science. She is an ideal supervisor for this work given her area of expertise, experience with key actor interviews and knowledge translation to academics and policymakers.

What are you most looking forward to or currently enjoying about the University of Waterloo?

I am looking forward to meeting the AMTD fellows and joining the great community of postdoctoral fellows at Waterloo.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Travelling, watching movies (preferably at the cinema), and visiting flea markets.

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