Resistance is Fertile: Reproduction, politics and resistance

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Goldsmiths, University of London

8 Lewisham Way

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SE14 6NW

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"Resistance is Fertile": One day conference on Reproduction, Politics and Resistance

September 14th 2019. Goldsmiths College, London

Reproductive labour and bodies, and those of women in particular, have been at the frontline of various political projects of liberal modernity, including capitalist industrialisation, (settler) colonialism, the nuclear family, global health, sustainable development and women’s emancipation (Murphy, 2012). However, Silvia Federici (2012) reminded us that reproduction – because of its ‘dual characteristic’ – is not only part of the problem, it is also part of the solution. As much as it reproduces hegemonic oppression and exploitation, it also produces human subjects, who are capable of creating change, resistance, and struggle.

This interdisciplinary one-day conference takes the politics of reproduction as its starting point, and will focus on questions related to the social, technological and political economic dimensions of reproduction as a site of oppression and resistance. How is (social/human) reproduction affected by persistent racist and sexist attitudes, climate change and renewed projects of population control? What does capitalism have to do with the social crisis of care? How do we construct new or re-imagine older practices and infrastructures of reproductive justice? What processes of redistribution, decolonisation and re-appropriation of labour, property, wealth, land will be required to reach there? Can developments in science and technology be harnessed for radical emancipatory uses in the struggle for reproductive rights and justice or are they part of the problem? We will employ an interdisciplinary, critical lens to explore what it means to make and unmake babies, families and other kin in the age in which, as Laura Briggs (2016) argues, all politics have become reproductive politics.

– Keynote Address –

Ruha Benjamin: ‘“Black Afterlives Matter: Cultivating Kinfulness as Reproductive Justice.”

Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Ruha’s work looks at the social dimensions of science, technology and medicine. More details, including a full speaker biography and talk abstract will be circulated in due course.

Conference Call For Proposals (CFP):

We invite submissions from scholars, activists and artists for 15 – 20 minute papers on Reproduction and Resistance, under the streams explained below. Collaborative papers are welcome, and proposals for longer workshops and panel discussions will also be considered. Please contact the organisers if you are unsure. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to reproductionresistance@gmail.com by the 15th June 2019.

Submissions are especially encouraged from activists/organisations as well as graduate students, early-career researchers and groups typically underrepresented in the academy. We invite all those submitting to consider the inclusivity of the conference, and encourage the submission of papers that can be enjoyed by a wider audience. A closing round table on the politics of organising around issues of reproduction will be lead by activists in the struggle. Childcare support funds are available. Applicants should contact the organisers on an individual basis and funds will be used to cover childcare expenses while attending the conference. Proposals that explore or are inspired by any of the following streams are welcome:

Stream 1: Reproductive Justice, Strikes and Organising: This stream will engage presentations broadly dealing with organizing and scholarly work toward reproductive justice. We encourage submissions from those engaging questions of how this framework has travelled from the United States to the United Kingdom and beyond. We invite topics on emerging areas of concern for reproductive justice activism, considerations of the history of the reproductive justice movement, and the work of both reproductive rights and reproductive justice activism online/offline.

Stream 2: Reproduction, Labour and Care: The Wages Against Housework Collective famously stated that it is only by framing housework as labour rather than as a mere act of selfless love and care, that we can de-naturalise it and go on strike. This stream takes all the physical, bodily, emotional and cognitive labour that lies behind processes of biological and social reproduction as a starting point to discuss instances, moments and strategies of resistance.

Stream 3: Reproduction, Digital Media and ‘Big’ Data: This stream looks at reproduction in the digital age. We will explore how digital and media technologies are used to inform and educate as well as to coerce or monitor the reproductive affairs of particular social groups. From surrogacy blogs, fertility tracking apps to the widespread use of smart phones, networked digital technologies and the internet are opening up new possibilities for controlling and monitoring the reproductive body. We invite contributions that aim to critically assess the impact of contemporary media forms and ‘big data’ on reproduction and reproductive politics.

Stream 4: Globalised Reproduction: Borders, Population Control and Climate Change: The topic of reproduction, demography, climate change and interspecies reproductive justice remains an urgent question of our time. Are we too many people or too many of a kind of people? Some look at the decreasing fertility rates of developed countries and at the comparatively higher fertility rates of developing countries with suspicion. They fear increasing poverty, immigration, scarcity of resources, worsening of climate change, and that there will be too many of “them” and too few of “us”. In this stream we discuss the tension between a growing population and the challenges of climate change, and the stratified and often racist reproductive policies advocated as a solution. We welcome interventions that contribute both towards debates around how (pro/anti)-natalism relates to matters of reproductive and environmental justice as well as interventions that examine the role of borders and travel in contemporary reproductive processes.

conference image: Nicolas Nova

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Goldsmiths, University of London

8 Lewisham Way

London

SE14 6NW

United Kingdom

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