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ANT 3930 Global Reproductive Technologies

Dr. Strong

In the course, we will explore the different ways in which objective medical technologies and devices become anything but objective as they move throughout the world. Using readings from countries across the globe, we will trace the ways in which reproductive technology, medical advances, and societies act on each other to create kinship, identity, and sociopolitical belonging, and influence our expectations or experiences of reproduction. We will begin with an introduction to some classics in the anthropology of reproduction, including influential works on medical imaging (ultrasound), infertility, and fetal testing, and then proceed to newer research that explores the rapid expansion of these technologies to non-Euro-American contexts. We will look at surrogacy in India, abortion in Vietnam, and infertility in Egypt.  We will conduct a semester-long conversation about relationships of power, governance, and influence between the global North and South centered on women’s bodies as commodities, as objects of ideology, as autonomous selves, or combinations of these and other trends. The course will contextualize current debates on access to and coverage for reproductive healthcare services both in the United States and beyond, as well as help us to contextualize access to reproductive technologies and how differential access influences meanings of reproductive choice in local contexts. We will ask questions about what form global reproductive futures might take in an era of gene editing but also risks, such as Zika, nuclear weapons, and climate change.