Geography, politics, in/fertilities I: In/fertility politics in transnational, border, and digital spaces

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Sexuality and Space Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group, Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: 8210, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Organizers: Emily Mitchell-Eaton, Nancy Hiemstra, Kate Coddington
Chairs: Maria Fannin


Feminist geographers’ focus on the body as a site and scale of spatial inquiry have highlighted the role of pregnancy and motherhood in geographic analysis. Pregnant bodies have been the subject of much feminist writing, from Longhurst’s (1994) attempt to bridge the mid-body dualism through the figure of the pregnant woman (and continued work on the corporeographies of pregnancy [Longhurst 2000]) to more recent attempts to interrogate the political practices of childbirth (Davies and Walker 2010; McKinnon 2016), explore relations of surrogacy (Lau 2018; Schurr 2016), and consider theoretical potential of the placenta for understanding embodied relations (Colls and Fannin 2013). Similarly, feminist geographers have explored a range of issues dealing with motherhood, investigating the spaces (Boyer and Spinney 2016; Luzia 2014), scales (Longhurst 2013; Madge and O’Connor 2005) and subjectivities (Gabb 2004; Holt 2014; Oswin 2010; Tarrant 2010) that become entangled in specific gendered and culturally-situated geographies of parenting. Despite this rich work, however, understandings of fertility in geography tend to focus on discrete moments in which fertility intersections with particular spaces – the hospital (McKinnon 2016), the body (Colls and Fannin 2013), the digital (Longhurst 2013). For us, the notion of fertility operating simultaneously at multiple scales and in and through varied spaces remains to be developed, particularly as it is oriented towards the political.

This session focuses on the continuing role of fertility both driving and being driven by diverse forms of political engagement. We are interested in what analytical possibilities emerge from understanding fertility as not just the pregnant/ non-pregnant dualism, but a continued state of being that influences lives, behaviors, and politics at a variety of scales, from the border and the nation-state to academic workplaces and the scale of the body. We are interested in when and where these questions about the spectrum of in/fertilities intersect with ‘the political:’ we ask what gets made political through fertility, including but not limited to pregnancy and childbirth? How do in/fertilities shape and target the experiences of people of color, non-western populations, and people of the Global South?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Maria Fannin University of Bristol 20 2:00 PM
Presenter Nancy Hiemstra*, Stony Brook University, Mothers, babies, and abortion at the border: Fertility and the policing of U.S. national identity 20 2:20 PM
Presenter Swati Shah*, Department of Geography, University of Otago, Christina Ergler, Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Otago, New Zealand, Bryndl Hohmann-marriott, Department of Sociology, Gender & Social Work, University of Otago, New Zealand, ‘People like us need to hide it’: Stigma and Surrogacy for the Indian Intending Parents 20 2:40 PM
Presenter Marcia England*, Miami University, No longer a whisper: Socio-spatial justice and the Shout Your Abortion movement 20 3:00 PM
Discussant Juliane Collard University of British Columbia 20 3:20 PM

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