Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice
The IAS Annual Theme for 2023-24, Gestation: Bodies, Technologies, Ecologies, Justice is led by Dr Pandora Syperek (LUL), Dr Eleanor Morgan (SDCA), Dr Emma Pullen (SSEHS), Dr Ana Cristina Suzina (LUL).
Gestation is a complex negotiation of culture, biology and politics constituted through entanglements of human and non-human agents and practices that extend beyond the flesh. As reproductive rights and freedoms currently face attacks internationally and gestational inequalities continue to be exposed, there has been much innovative rethinking around gender, kinship, reproduction and care. Feminist and queer theorists propose alternative, sometimes utopian societal arrangements to overturn hierarchies of patriarchal colonialism, rethinking gestation beyond narrow hetero- and cisnormative understandings.
This urgent theme is not limited to the human, but encompasses radically other lifeforms and models of development, (reproductive) technologies and AI. Deployed as a weapon in eugenics and genocide, gestation is at the heart of ecological debates around population and also has important implications for Indigenous philosophies regarding the ethics of our relationships with the Earth. Although associated with growth, to gestate is to carry and in all its forms is a relational act.
In a creative and collaborative process, this theme unfolds as a series of cross-disciplinary conversations to listen to diverse perspectives on gestations and think together about the way life is generated and reproduced materially and symbolically.
Roundtable Summit: Autumn 2023
20-24 November 2023, Loughborough East Midlands Campus
Roundtable 1: Bodies
Gestation is a complex negotiation of culture, biology and politics constituted relationally through entanglements of human and non-human agents and practices that extend beyond the flesh. This initial roundtable will explore the bodily realities and interchanges of this incontrovertibly universal yet deeply varied experience, and the complex concerns that arise therein.
Chair: Eleanor Morgan (SDCA, LU) https://www.lboro.ac.uk/schools/design-creative-arts/people/eleanor-morgan/
Roundtable 2: Technologies
Technology plays an important role in the control and categorisation of gestations. Historical and ongoing examples range from forced sterilisation and abortion, eugenics, disparities of obstetric care for BIPOC patients, debates surrounding surrogacy, IVF, and digital health innovations as novel methods of reproductive control. Gestation's recent role in neo-fascist discourse, including in eco-fascist rhetoric concerning ‘over-population’, and its historical instrumentalisation in genocide underscore the crucial need for deep analysis of such technologies and discourses, and from interdisciplinary perspectives.
Chair: Emma Pullen (SSEHS, LU) https://www.lboro.ac.uk/schools/sport-exercise-health-sciences/people/emma-pullen/
Roundtable Summit: Summer 2024
13-17 May 2024, Loughborough London Campus
Roundtable 3: Ecologies
This roundtable will propose a reflection about gestations from the perspective of carrying and caring, accentuating the idea of a lasting process that is not limited or circumscribed to pregnancy and birth, and that encompasses a collective engagement with the generation and protection of life. This discussion will include indigenous perspectives where the Earth is the mother of all beings, the Pachamama, as described in Andean cultures in Latin America. This notion will be put in dialogue with other grassroots perspectives to reflect upon the reciprocal influence between human communities and their context in the development of decent living conditions, something that will touch the design of public policies coherent with these purposes.
Chair: Ana Cristina Suzina (ICMI, LUL) https://www.lborolondon.ac.uk/about/staff/ana-cristina-suzina/
Roundtable 4: Justice
As reproductive rights and freedoms currently face attacks internationally and gestational inequalities continue to be exposed, there has been much innovative rethinking around gender, kinship, reproduction and care. Feminist and queer theorists propose alternative, sometimes utopian societal arrangements to overturn hierarchies of patriarchal colonialism, rethinking gestation beyond narrow hetero- and cisnormative understandings. Meanwhile, international cultural, political and legal frameworks around gestation vary greatly, indicating myriad and complex needs.
Chair: Pandora Syperek (IDI, LUL) https://www.lborolondon.ac.uk/about/staff/dr-pandora-syperek/