The point of departure of this seminar is the analytical and political urgency to understand Israel/Palestine through the feminist lens of reproductive justice. The State of Israel is known internationally as having adopted remarkably “pronatalist” policies since its creation in 1948, aimed at encouraging high birth rates by offering financial incentives for reproducing large families, welfare benefits for (working) mothers, high child allowances and generous subsidies for assisted reproductive technologies including in vitro fertilisation, egg donation, surrogacy, prenatal and pre-implantation genetic testing, posthumous assisted reproduction, etc. However, critical scholars have been arguing for decades that Israel’s pronatalism is selective, and mostly designed to benefit its European-descended Jewish Israeli citizens and not Palestinians who are framed as a “demographic threat”. In addition to cultural paradigms of “Jewishness” that refer to the importance of reproduction in Jewish culture, religion, and history, this seminar foregrounds a settler colonial analysis of Israel’s stratified reproductive regimes. Situating the crucial role of older and newer technologies of (assisted) reproduction, fertility, and family (un)making within Zionism’s century-old yet ongoing settler colonial history, I will argue that the creation and consolidation of a demographically Jewish state in Israel/Palestine materializes at the expense of Indigenous Palestinian life and reproduction. Using several case studies of reproductive technologies, including egg donation, surrogacy and posthumous sperm-retrieval, I will illustrate how Israel’s selective pronatalism is partly rooted in structures of demographic replacement of Palestinians their collective means and infrastructures of life, biological and social reproduction. (Image credit to @marjoleinpijnappels)
About the speaker
Siggie Vertommen works as a lecturer in gender and global health at the University of Amsterdam and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender at Ghent University. She conducts feminist research into the global politics of (assisted) reproduction from Israel/Palestine to Georgia and Belgium.
Time: 12:00-13:30, 28 February
Venue: Faculteitsraadzaal, Blandijnberg 2, 9000, Ghent
To attend: The seminar is free to anyone interested but please register HERE so we know how many people to expect.
Find and sign the statement for Reproductive Justice for Palestine here: https://reprosist.org/.../resistance-is-fertile-endorse.../