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Kalindi Vora: “Life Support: Legacies of Imperial Science and Surrogate Technologies of Racialized Reproduction”

January 6, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm  |  Stevenson Fireside Lounge


Transnational commercial surrogacy brings together India’s colonial history and its economic development through outsourcing and globalization with instrumentalized notions of the reproductive body. Addressing the intertwined historical relationships and contemporary disparities in medical and legal protections to bear upon reections on recent innovations in articial uterine environments, this talk suggests that the metaphors we use to structure our understanding of bodies and body parts impact how we imagine appropriate roles for people and their bodies in ways that are still deeply entangled with imperial histories of science. The techno-fantasy of the isolated womb is part of the originating conditions for the structure and discourse of Indian surrogacy as “wombs for rent,” and the notion of the disembodied uterus that has arisen in scientic and medical practice allows for alienating logic of the “gestational carrier” as a functional role in Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) practices. Given these ongoing histories and metaphors, it is important to consider the unequal positions of participants in transnational fertility exchanges when evaluating recent articulations of the relationship between governance, medicine, and transnational ART markets in the debates about draft ART legislation in India.

Kalindi Vora is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and aliate faculty of the Critical Gender and Science Studies Programs at UC San Diego. Her book, Life Support: Biocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), examines domestic work, customer care, the commodication of human organs, gestational surrogacy and knowledge work as representing a global economy of vitality that relies on aective and biological labor of feminized workers. Her research and publications have focused on gendered labor, globalization, South Asian area and diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, and feminist theory.

Upcoming Feminist Science Studies Colloquia

Ann Fink, New York University
“Feminist Ethics and the Neurobiology of Memory”
January 13, 5:00 – 6:30pm, Humanities 1 Room 210

Sara Giordano, San Diego State University
“Tinkering with Science: IRB, DIY and Feminist Science Ethics”
January 20, 5:00 – 6:30pm, Humanities 1 Room 210

Kristina Lyons, University of California of Santa Cruz
“Decomposition as Life Politics: Soils, Shared Bodies, and Stamina Under the Gun of the U.S.-Colombia War on Drugs”
January 27, 5:00 – 6:30pm, Humanities 1 Room 210


January 6, 2015
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Stevenson Fireside Lounge
Humanites 1 University of California, Santa Cruz Cowell College
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States
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