Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Medical Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Resistance
Secondary Theme: Health
The anthropological study of reproductive health has long highlighted contestations in normative, medical, legal, and local forms of reproduction. Individuals, communities, and professionals contest, resist, and extend the boundaries of acceptable and understandable ways of knowing reproduction. Resistances in the form of movements, medical advancements, or reclaimed knowledges continue to push and challenge perceptions of what reproduction is, what it looks like, and how and when it can and should be done. Transplanted uteri, trans-pregnancies, child-free by choice, and reclaiming of indigenous birth practices are all different ways of challenging the pervasive biomedical and cultural understandings of reproduction. Legal sites of contestation include, but are not limited to abortion restrictions such as American TRAP laws or Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, which also restricts choice in maternity care.
This panel engages with the concept of reproductive resistance and it’s multitude of meanings. Papers engage broadly with the idea of resistance in relation to reproduction and engage the following questions: How do local, personalized experiences of fighting or subverting the culturally normative expectations of reproduction vary? In what ways are legal systems related to reproduction being challenged by medical advancements, social movements, and/or individuals? How do perceptions of self and embodied experiences contest normative medico-legal understandings of reproduction?
Specifically, the focus of this panel elucidates the diverse ways in which human beings choose to reproduce, challenge expectations of reproduction, fight for reproductive justice, and redefine the possibilities of reproduction. Broadly, these papers focus on contraceptive methods, cancer and fertility, miscarriage, reproduction among the Amish, and non-binary couples' relationship to reproductive care. Reproductive resistances are both gaining and losing ground legally, socially, and medically and it is now more important than ever to engage with these dynamic and divisive movements, communities, and individuals. By bringing together dynamic research on reproductive resistance this panel will connect scholars working on a diverse array of important issues.