WMST W4300 Advanced Topics in Women's and Gender Studies. 4 points.
Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.
This seminar considers the family at a historical and socio-technical juncture at which its form is both remarkably flexible and deeply intractable. The course begins with an overview of sociological and feminist scholarship on the family. We then examine how developments stemming from genetic science have spurred the emergence of new reproductive technologies over the last few decades and, in turn, novel forms of procreation and affiliation. To what extent do assisted reproduction practices, such as in vitro fertilization, prenatal diagnosis, and surrogacy, offer novel ways for constituting and conceptualizing the family? Which constituencies benefit from these possibilities, which enable them, and which are constrained by them? To what extent do clinical and reproductive genetics privilege biological relatedness and, therefore, traditional gender ideologies? How is the family now simultaneously case as a source of (health) risk, a necessary resource for optimal (healthy) living, and a volitional social form? We will take up these questions against the backdrop of forms of kin-keeping sociality (family reunions, genealogy, etc.), on the one hand, and, on the other hand, "biosociality" and biological affinity. Readings include works by Cartsen, Engels, Franklin & McKinnon, Furstenberg, Nelkin, Povinelli, Katz Rothman, Strathern and Weston.