Remodelling the Human: Reproductive Models and Feminist Technoscience

Tuesday, 9 November 2021, 9:30am – 12:30pm AEDT

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In deepening our knowledge about how human beings reproduce, scientific models reconstitute reproduction as a cultural form and a lived experience. That is, technoscientific distillations of reproductive health are “recursive” in Sarah Franklin’s (2013) sense, folding back to remodel ideas of conception and human relations more generally. In the past several decades, reproductive technologies have reshaped our notions of conception, shifting how we understand fertility, inheritance, and kinship. Fetal imaging has created a new visual repertoire of pregnancy around which abortion debates have oscillated, and embryo imaging technologies have similarly forged new hierarchies of potentiality, assisted by developments in artificial intelligence. Innovations in epigenetics and post-genomic sciences have offered a model of “intercalating environments” between generations, scrambling linear expectations of the life course through attention to intergenerational imbrication (Landecker & Panofsky 2012). And developments in bio- and nanotechnology now reframe understandings of pregnancy complications by creating cyborg models of the uterine and placental interfaces in vitro. Across these diverse terrains, reproductive temporalities, embodiment, and gendered notions of responsibility for health are in turn revised by the models employed to understand them.

This symposium will bring together feminist scholars interested in technoscientific practices of modelling human reproduction. Interdisciplinary in scope and diverse in research focus, we aim to explore the vital role of models in reshaping reproduction. In attending to the material practices, situated contexts, and gendered imaginaries through which they emerge, participants will investigate what current and emerging reproductive models might reflect, reinforce, and contest about reproductive discourses.


9:30 – 9:45am – Welcome

Introduction: Jaya Keaney & Jacqueline Dalziell

Welcome to Country: Wurundjeri Traditional Owners

9:45 – 10:30am – Session 1

Dr. Claire Horn (Health Law Institute, Dalhousie University)
Ectogenesis at home? Reimagining artificial wombs 

Dr. Mianna Lotz (Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University)
The repro-norms and procreative models of uterus transplantation: Pure encumbrances or potential targets for disruption and recursion?

10:30 – 10:40am – Break

10:40 – 11:25am – Session 2

Prof. Catherine Mills (Monash Bioethics Institute, Monash University)
Mitochondrial replacement techniques and the erasure of the maternal 

Dr. Jacqueline Dalziell (Macquarie University) & Dr. Jaya Keaney (Deakin University)
Immortalising organs: Remodelling the placenta in vitro

11:25 – 11.35am – Break

11:35 – 12:30pm – Keynote

Prof. Celia Roberts (School of Sociology, ANU)
Domestic science and home-based research: Rethinking the cutting edges of reproduction Discussant: Dr. Natali Valdez (Wellesley College)


Dr. Jaya Keaney (Deakin University) and Dr. Jacqueline Dalziell (Macquarie University)

This symposium is an initiative of @ProjectPlacenta

Supported by a Deakin Science & Society Network Project Incubator Grant 2020