Reproduction tracks. New visibility
managing editors: Matylda Szewczyk, Marta Zimniak-Hałajko, Łukasz Zaremba
The term reproduction has a number of meanings, however in its relation to biological proliferation, both human and non-human, in recent decades it has been marked by intense change, accompanied by increased analysis, both in the mainstream public sphere and in the academia. These changes occur in several related fields. Knowledge about and technical possibilities for interfering with nature are changing. Emancipatory changes in family models (along with the public presence of non-heteronormative family configurations) and sexual practices are supported by innovative technological possibilities in the field of medically assisted procreation and are also accompanied by new birth control tools. The spread of reproductive medical services is made possible by globalisation, allowing international transfers of people, gametes and capital. Simultaneously, the actual access to these services depends on economical wealth (both of individuals and communities) and on local policies and bottom-up actions. Growing medicalization and technological control over reproduction can both arouse enthusiasm and incite to resistance.
Increased general interest in reproduction issues has other, less measurable and yet very culturally significant sources. The first one is related to the central location of the figure of the child in our contemporary collective imagination, resulting amongst others in a strong emphasis on an individual’s fulfilment as a parent. This fulfilment is possibly less unambiguous than in the past, but at the same time is much more widely discussed. The second one grows from concerns about the increasing recognition of the human condition in the Anthropocene, under which the human species is facing the real possibility of seeing the end of nature as we know it. On the one hand, the growing threat of a “sixth mass extinction” directs social attention towards the protection of inhuman life forms, looking for ways of modifying the evolutionary processes or possibilities for reproduction of dying species (under natural or artificial conditions) and even the reintroduction of species that became extinct thousands of years ago. On the other, the hopes for survival (of humans and other biological species) are often placed on completely artificial beings such as machines.
In this issue of View, we would like to ask about the visibility of reproduction: how particular issues related to reproduction are recognised and omitted, shown and hidden from public view. The focus on the visual field is partially provoked by the very nature of medical reproduction technologies, that are largely based on visualisation. That is why the reflection about what we see is linked to questions about how we see (i.e. is about technologies and media of vision) and how ways of seeing shape our reality. We invite you to submit papers describing the transformation of popular, dominant cultural representations, as well as attempts to change the field of social visibility from the bottom up, for example by social movements (in particular by those concerned about reproduction as such, e.g. patient, LGBT, “pro-life” ones). Another important topic are artistic practices addressing the problem of reproduction (e.g. within the Art&Science movement). Finally, we would like to address the issue of the visibility of conflicts, both of values and of interests, which force us to constantly redefine what is being perceived and practiced in the sphere of procreation.
We're waiting for your abstracts (max 300 words) and short bios until March 15, 2021. The final submission (along with a biographical note with the author's ORCID number, abstract, and bibliography in Chicago-style format) will be due on August 15, 2021.