This symposium will explore the history of infertility, and the place of infertility in science and culture. Our primary focus is historical, but we welcome contributions from scholars in different disciplines and employing a range of approaches – social scientific, literary, feminist, psychological, and legal. We aim to bring together researchers working on this fascinating and under-explored field in order to better understand historical and contemporary representations and experiences of infertility across different cultures and from different perspectives. Potential topics for papers include, but are not limited to:
- the role of gender, class and race in shaping experiences and representations of infertility;
- individual, familial, and social contexts of infertility;
- infertility as a bodily and/or psychological experience;
- heterosexuality, homosexuality, and involuntary childlessness;
- reproductive science and access to reproductive technologies;
- the interplay of medical, scientific, and cultural understandings of infertility;
- the role of politics, law, and religion in shaping experiences of and attitudes towards infertility;
- changing experiences of infertility across time and space, including comparative histories;
- the relation of perceptions of infertility to beliefs about fertility control, the constitution and social role of the family, and sexuality;
- different disciplinary approaches to infertility.
An edited collection based on the presented papers is planned.
The symposium is co-convened by Gayle Davis (University of Edinburgh) and Tracey Loughran (Cardiff University). It will be held at the University of Edinburgh on 4-5 July 2013. Abstracts of 250 words, for papers of 20-30 minutes, should be sent to LoughranTL@cardiff.ac.uk by 25th January 2013.
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