The rapid global growth of the fertility industry is one of the most significant contexts of contemporary social change, and these changes are the subject of an increasing amount of social research. This conference is designed both to consolidate core themes in the social study of reproductive technologies and to showcase new research, especially by early career scholars and doctoral students. Our core themes are designed to bring together old and new approaches to the study of reproduction, technology and society at a time when the politics of reproduction globally are changing rapidly.
The conference will have six streams : Making New Biologies ; Reproductive Bodies and Identities ; Race, Nation & Reproduction ; Mediated Reproduction ; Changing In/Fertilities & Reproductive Futures. Abstract submission is open until 17th November 2017.
The Conference Streams :
Race, Nation and Reproduction
This stream will explore the intertwining of racial, national and reproductive dynamics. In/equalities, citizenships, public and private institutions, il/legalities, histories, border enforcements, global flows and multiple forms of resistance are core topics of great breadth in contemporary reproduction. How do political economies shape who can reproduce and how ?
Reproductive Bodies and Identities
As reproductive technologies develop, how people think about reproduction in relation to themselves and their bodies also changes. This theme will focus on the understandings, perceptions and experiences of personhood/subjectivity in the context of the ever more varied possibilities and constraints that affect people’s reproductive trajectories.
With the widespread introduction of reproductive technologies like IVF, gamete donation and egg freezing, the notion of what it means to be in/fertile is changing dramatically. This stream will examine the changing publics and practices of in/fertility that arise with contemporary assisted reproduction, including the emergence of new responsibilities, industries, imaginaries, choices and norms pertaining to reproductive potentiality.
Making New Biologies
Reproductive practices and IVF accompany the making of new biologies like cloning, stem cell research, epigenetics, genome editing or mitochondrial replacement. This stream will explore how reproduction is involved in the emergence of these biological dynamics and how it is re-shaped, transformed, and extended within and beyond family-making and human networks.
This theme will explore the complex temporalities at stake in reproductive futures and the future of reproduction. Assisted reproductive technologies can often seem like science fiction coming to life, whether in utopian or dystopian forms, but what kinds of future imaginaries - for individuals, families, societies or the world - shape people’s experiences of reproduction, whether assisted or unassisted ? And what role do ideas of, and aspirations for, the future play in reproduction ?
The reproduction of human and non-human life has been increasingly shaped by biomedical reproductive technologies, e.g. in vitro fertilisation, provision of eggs and sperm, cryo-preservation of gametes and embryos, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, gestational surrogacy, and many others. Also other technologies, such as kinship and gender, have been involved in reproducing human and other species as well as social distinctions. The questions we ask in this stream include the different ways in which reproduction choreographs particular politics of life ; what reproductive technologies may tell us about their users ; the social hierarchies in which reproduction is immersed and in societies at large.
This conference is organised by the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) which supports research and teaching at the University of Cambridge on the social and cultural implications of new reproductive technologies. ReproSoc is part of an expanding concentration of Reproductive Studies at Cambridge, is led by Professor Sarah Franklin, and has funding from the Wellcome Trust, British Academy, ESRC, ERC, and Office of the Vice Chancellor, as well as several other funding bodies.