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Call for papers: Anthropology of Reproductive Governance and Justice

In an era of anti-gender movements, political opposition to academic education in gender studies and critical race studies, and infringements on reproductive rights and legislation in various countries across the globe, anthropologists have been turning more and more toward the study of the political, social and cultural entanglements of gender and anti-gender thought. After focusing on anti-gender and far-right movements in 2019 in Amsterdam, the upcoming EASA’s Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality invites papers for a two-day virtual workshop on the anthropology of reproductive governance and justice, to be held on the 7th and 8th of December, 2021.

Scholarship on reproductive governance has been focusing on the use of ‘legislative controls, economic inducements, moral injunctions, direct coercion, and ethical incitements to produce, monitor, and control reproductive behaviours and population practices’ (Morgan and Roberts 2012). This scholarship can be situated within larger theoretical frames of biopolitics, population control and neo-Malthusean policy on the one hand and a politics of exclusion based on race, religion and culture on the other (De Zordo and Marchesi 2016).

Multiple competing rationalities shape (inter)national and local policies as well as individual reproductive decision-making. Different rationalities easily co-exist within one national context, producing multiple ‘reproductive stigmas’ and ideas of what is considered ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’ reproductive behaviour. Indeed, population policies and exclusionary politics are expressed through moral regimes that prescribe acceptable sexual behaviours, forms of family formation, religious or secular commitments or otherwise ‘idealised forms of social reproduction’ (Morgan and Roberts, 2012).

Consequently, paradoxical logics exist in various European countries, for instance when the native population is encouraged to be ‘rational’ and reproduce, while migrant groups’ reproduction is considered ‘irresponsible’ or marked by ‘excessive fertility’ (Mishtal, 2015, Marchesi 2016, Sargent 2011). A similar moral evaluation is involved in ‘assessments of worthiness originating in assumptions about race, class, and disability (among other dimensions)’ which decide about reproductive futures (Luna and Luker 2013).

In this workshop, we aim to address contemporary dynamics and challenges in the anthropological study of reproductive governance and justice in different contexts across the globe. We welcome completed research as well as work in progress, think pieces or theoretical reflections.

We are interested in papers discussing the following and related topics:

  • reproductive (ir)rationalities
  • reproductive governance and justice
  • reproductive stigma
  • moral regimes of reproduction
  • secular/religious reproductive entanglements
  • European and non-European contexts
  • global or multi-sited ethnographies
  • any other related topics

This virtual workshop is organized in collaboration with the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Wroclaw, Poland.

Please send your abstract to an.vanraemdonck@ugent.be and monika.baer@uwr.edu.pl before the 15th of October 2021.