"Changing the World - One Baby at a Time": Reproductive Technologies and Feminism in Contemporary North American Culture

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Centrum för genusvetenskap 13:11
  • Lecturer: Jenny Bonnevier, Senior Lecturer at Örebro University
  • Organiser: Centre for Gender Research
  • Contact person: Nicole Ovesen
  • Seminarium

Welcome to the Thursday seminar at the Centre for Gender Research. The Thursday seminars are a place where gender studies from different disciplines meet. OPEN FOR ALL! No registration required.

Since the late 19th century, reproductive technologies have repeatedly played central roles in feminist politics and activism in North America, first in debates on birth control, later in the struggle for legalizing abortion. While the relatively new assisted reproductive technologies constitute less clear-cut rallying points, phenomena such as IVF-tourism and international surrogacy are currently the focus of lively feminist debate in different arenas. In addition to challenging feminist practices and policies, reproductive technologies also challenge feminist theories, including conceptualizations of both the roots of gender-based oppression and of a feminist future.

This talk will examine some ways in which cultural representations of reproductive technologies activate and engage with the possibility of a feminist future. The starting point will be two very different narratives: Marge Piercy’s science fiction novel Woman on the Edge of Time from 1976 and the recent BBC America sf-series Orphan Black (2013-2017). As I will show, these narratives both link reproduction and reproductive technologies to forms of oppression and to possibilities for social change, but do so in distinctively different ways. Furthermore, these differences might tell us something worthwhile about feminist futurities.