Call for Papers: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous: The Politics of Reproduction in the Age of Neoliberalism

Seeking essays for an edited collection entitled
Mad, Bad, and Dangerous: The Politics of Reproduction in the Age of Neoliberalism
Editors: Modhumita Roy and Mary Thompson
Deadline for Abstracts: August 1, 2016

“[I]t is crucial to consider the degree to which one woman’s possession of reproductive choice may actually depend on or deepen another woman’s reproductive vulnerability.”
-Rickie Solinger, Beggers and Choosers (2001)

The first two decades of the 21st century have witnessed intensified interest in definitions and understandings of reproduction in the U.S. and around the world. Less discussed, however, have been those narratives that problematize the normalized scripts of reproductive desire, labor, and choice-making to reveal the division of labor that separates those who desire and those who are instrumental in satisfying such desires.
This book uniquely brings together abortion, adoption, and surrogacy as instances/sites of reproductive politics that need to be considered as a whole. We focus on these issues because they reflect new ways of constructing family and changing definitions of motherhood in an era of expanding reproductive freedoms and choices that are available, particularly to women. And yet, even as these sites (egg donation, surrogacy, or adoption, to name a few) reflect some women’s amplified options, they also indicate other women’s unvoiced desperation and coercion. Considering, as Rickie Solinger has done, the biopolitics of reproductive choice in the 21st century, much feminist work remains to be done before reproductive justice is achieved. Significantly, persistent discourses of bio-essentialism and pronatalism remain unchallenged in the constructions of gender, motherhood, and the demand for genetically related off-spring. Moreover, the era of neoliberalism—with its emphasis on privatization, minimal government intervention, and a reduction of the State’s responsibility for social welfare and services—has produced an illusion of amplified “choice” for those privileged women who can afford to claim normalized motherhood; meanwhile, these claims mask and contribute to the vulnerability of other women. Narratives of “bad mothers” or women who are “bad choice makers” (voluntarily childless, seeking or failing to seek abortion, surrendering or failing to surrender children, etc.) obscure the precarious and dangerously limited range of “choices” available to some women. Accounts of the dangers faced by women in the pursuit of motherhood or reproductive freedom (egg donations, surrogacy, multiple embryo implantations, DIY abortions) are similarly suppressed.
This collection aims to address the urgent need for feminist analyses of reproduction that looks carefully at scientific possibilities, social practices, and cultural representations. We invite essays that draw on interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies to analyze the complex politics of reproduction globally. Topics may include but are not limited to:

* surrogacy (commercial; altruistic; gestational)
* abortion (challenges to “good” abortion scripts; bans on abortions for sex, race, and disability; DIY abortions)
* politics of adoption (domestic; international; open; closed)
* infertility and IVF (egg donation and egg freezing)
* reproductive tourism
* pronatalism and the state
* politics of nonreproduction
* reproduction and population discourse
* the politics of “choice” and new reproductive technologies
* age and the politics of reproduction
* the law and reproduction
* assisted reproduction (womb transplants; orphan embryos; triplings and twiblings)
* the baby as commodity
* moral regulation of pregnancy and parenting
* structures of feeling—making babies, making families
* desires for genetically related children; baby hunger
* queer reproduction
* alternative families and “making kin”
* pro-choice politics vs. reproductive justice

Submission Guidelines
Abstracts/proposals (350-500 words) with a short biography due: August 1, 2016. Acceptances made by September 1, 2016. Completed manuscripts (6,000-8,000 words) double-spaced with references in MLA format) are due: December 1, 2016.
Please send inquiries and abstracts to the editors:
Modhumita Roy or Mary Thompson and


Friday, June 24, 2016 - 09:30