24. August – 25. August 2023
International conference by TechnoDeath at Aalborg University in Copenhagen
The increasing global development and use of reproductive technologies have prompted reproductive scholars within the social sciences and humanities to raise questions regarding how family, kinship, race, gender, sexuality, and disabilities intersect. Such studies have focused not least on how the selection of gametes, children, and parents takes place during medical treatment. Overall, these studies have illustrated how reproductive technologies are always technologies of biopolitics, as they potentially reflect on the governing of both life and death. Meanwhile, compared to how reproductive technologies are seen to remake life, the technological remaking of death has yet to be granted the same amount of scholarly attention.
At this international conference, we want to recenter the focus of reproductive studies to explore how technologies remake death as it intersects with life. We hope to engage in a range of different cases regarding how life and death emerge and are understood, such as during the cryopreservation and storage of gametes, in studies of family planning, in the use of prenatal screening, and in technologies involved in miscarriages, fetal reduction, abortions, still births, births, neonatal care, and infant death. We thereby hope to unpack how death emerges in relation to technologies involved, how cells, fetal tissue, and bodies that are dead become managed, and how people live with deaths after they have terminated a pregnancy or experienced infant death. We hope to bring forward embodied stories of how technological remaking’s of life and death are experienced, unpacking these stories in relation to how reproductive inequalities and current local and global forms of reproductive and population politics unfold.
We invite contributions to think about and relate to questions such as the following:
How does technology remake death and dying at the beginning of life?
How are colonial pasts, as well as racialized and gendered perceptions of bodies, entangled in the use of technologies of life and death at the beginning of life?
What bio- and necropolitical practices are involved in the population politics at stake globally regarding bodies that are enabled to either live or die?
How does the cryopreservation of gametes relate to life and death, given that the suspension of life is enabled?
How does technology shape experiences and politics regarding abortion globally?
As medical staff, what is it like to work with technologies enabling life and death?
How are abortion and fetal reduction experienced by pregnant persons?
How are technologies entangled with affect or emotions during the process of making life and death?
How do legal and medical technologies intersect as perceptions of quality of life are assessed in decisions on whether to allow someone to live or die?
How are technologies used to manage the deaths of fetuses and infants in maternity wards and neonatal intensive care units until the burial or disposal of the body, and what norms of affect and grieving are implied?
How do parents who have lost a child or terminated a pregnancy live with the remaking of death and dying through technologies?
How can technologies of life and death at the beginning of life be theoretically conceptualized?
What are the methodological challenges of studying technologies of life and death at the beginning of life?
Associate Professor Stine Willum Adrian and PhD fellow Laura Louise Heinsen