Gala
Rexer


Postdoctoral Fellow at UCL’s Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation


Writing



Peer-reviewed articles

Rexer, G. (2021)
In: Special Issue “Sexuality and Borders”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 44(9),1549-1568.

Borderlands of reproduction: bodies, borders, and assisted reproductive technologies in Israel/Palestine.





Yurdakul, G., Rexer, G., Eilat, S. & Mutluer, N (2019)
Comparative Sociology, 18(5), 706-734.

Contested Authorities over Life Politics: Religious-Secular Tensions in Abortion Debates in Germany, Turkey, and Israel





Editor-reviewed articles & Public Scholarship

Words failed us 

Repairing sociology’s haunted past means finding new language to write about the social world


How Race, Nationality, and Gender shape Fieldwork and Data Collection

Tales from the Field


What’s in your bag, Ursula K. Le Guin?

The Carrier Bag Approach to Storytelling and White Feminism

Hannah Wallenfels und Gala Rexer (2019) Missy Magazine

Lieber Cyborg als Göttin

Warum ist erfolgreiche feministische Science-Fiction im Moment so dystopisch – und wo ist die Aufbruchsstimmung des Cyberfeminismus hin?




Teaching







Graduate level course, fall semester 2016/17 and 2017/18 (co-taught together with Prof. Gökce Yurdakul)

Body Politics and the Margins of Life: The Secular/Religious Tensions


This seminar is concerned with how conflicts between religion and secularity (i.e., secular and religious discourses, norms, actors, and institutions) are shaped differently in differing socio-legal contexts in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Specifically, we will examine the way religion and secularity shape disputes and are shaped by disputes over “body politics” and “the margins of life”.  
We will explore the secular laws and religious disputes governing what is permissible to do to the body and who has the authority to decide (the religion, the mother, the public, the individual etc.)  We will focus on current legal and social controversies that have erupted around the practices of male circumcision, organ donation, abortion, reproductive technologies and trans rights, and place these controversies in a theoretical framework of sociology of the body, biopolitics and (post)-secularism.




Research







Book Project
Work in Progress

Bodies and Borders: Mapping Reproductive Injustice in Israel/Palestine


Bodies and Borders offers a critical account of the politics and intimate geographies of race, citizenship, and gender that shape Palestinian women’s reproduction across Israel and Palestine. Based on more than two years of ethnographic research and 60 in-depths interviews with Israeli medical staff and Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment in Israeli hospitals, this book examines how the Israeli fertility economy works internally, how its operations conjoin with Israeli settler politics, and how Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment experience this medical context and its wider political implications. Bodies and Borders intervenes in scholarship that analyzes Palestinian women’s (reproductive) rights through liberal frameworks of inclusion and access. Instead, it explores how demographic anxieties - enacted by Israeli authorities, policies, and medical staff - shape Palestinian women’s reproductive practices and pregnancy outcomes, and their access to the resources needed to become a parent and raise children in a safe and healthy environment more broadly. It argues that the provision of health services and reproductive technologies alone is not enough to guarantee reproductive justice in a settler colonial context. 

Through its multi-disciplinary theoretical approach, drawing from Black Feminist Theory, STS, and Border Studies, Bodies and Borders charts reproductive justice in a transnational context. The experiences of Palestinian women in Israeli fertility clinics tell at once a local and a global story. They illustrate how the regulation of reproduction across a variety of scales – from the occupation, military environments, and urban segregation, to hospitals, bodies, and affect – unfolds in the encounter of Palestinian bodies and the borders set up to protect the Israeli state. At the same time, Palestinian women’s experiences are part of the global history of eugenics, population politics, and birth control, which continues to posit Black, non-white, Indigenous, and poor bodies as a problem to be managed and a site to assert state-power. And finally, while this project is about reproductive justice through the lens of Israel/Palestine and vice versa, Bodies and Borders also incorporates reproductive justice as an approach to research methodology in a world structured by white supremacy.  Among the methodological contributions this book makes, is offering a reflexive account to think about how white innocence is reproduced in the field, and how to trace and honor ethnographic limits in studies that center marginalized experiences to reveal structural inequalities.

Speaking


Invited Talks
Guest lecture in Elizabeth Berman’s undergraduate class “Re:production. Queer-Feminist Perspectives on Reproduction and Racialization”, session on Migration and Eugenics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (January 2022)

Student Q&A, article “Borderlands of Reproduction” in  Gökce Yurdakul’s  graduate seminar “Race and Anti-Racism”, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Social Sciences (December 2021)

Lecture and Artist Talk with Ruth Patir on biopolitics, care, technology and reproductive rights, artport Tel Aviv (September 2020)

Guest lecture  in Tunay Altay’s graduate class “Citizenship, Borders, and Sexuality”, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Social Sciences (January 2020)

Guest lecture in Carmen Schmöl’s research seminar “Cyberpunk and Capitalist Realism”, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute for German Literature (December 2019)

“From Cyborgs to Xenofeminism: Bodies, Gender, and Technology”, guest lecture in Gökce Yurdakul’s graduate seminar “Gender, Nation, Racism”, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Social Sciences (November 2018)

Biopolitics of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Paper presentation and panel discussion “Body, Technology, Politics” at 3hd Festival, HAU Berlin (November 2017)

Photography by Ink Agop, ©️ Creamcake
Conference & Workshop Presentations (selected)
Extracting the Future: Military Environments and Reproductive Injustice. Paper presentation, Conference “Beyond Militarism”, University of Cambridge (September 2022)

Settler Colonial Infrastructures and Affective Borders: Palestinian Women’s Erasure from the Israeli Fertility Economy. Paper presentation at the “Powers of Erasure, Erasures of Power: An Interdisciplinary Conversation about Science, Technology and Society” Workshop, STS@UCL (May 2022)

Feminist Epistemologies//Rethinking Gender Workshop, informal think-piece & discussion,  Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL (May 2022)

Making Kin and Making Population: Towards Reproductive Futurity on a Planetary Scale. Paper presentation at the meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, Toronto/online (October 2021)

Making Live, Letting Die, or Foreclosing Birth? Interrogating the Israeli Settler Colonial Fertility Economy. Paper presentation at the Concerning Palestine/Israel: Thinking with Achille Mbembe Symposium, organized by Academia for Equality, online (September 2021)

Topographies of Bodies, Borders, and Reproduction: Repro-Politics in Palestine/Israel. Paper presentation at the Sexuality and Borders Symposium, New York University (April 2019)

Clinical Encounters: The Construction of Israeli Fertility Clinics as Utopian Non-Places. Paper presentation at the 2018 Postgraduate Bioethics Conference (PGBC), King’s College London (July 2018)




About



Structural inequalities have a profound impact on marginalized people’s bodies, and their traces can be found across different spatio-temporal scales: from the infrastructures of health systems, to the altering of cells through endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Whether in Europe, the Middle East, or globally, the social and biological reproduction of Black, non-white, or poor populations is disrupted not only by structural racism and heteronormative gender relations, but also on the cellular level. My research identifies the material effects of racial capitalism through the lens of reproduction. Focusing particularly on birthing people’s reproductive health and rights, I analyze how racism and structural violence engender embodied inequalities. In so doing, I use qualitative research to advance reproductive and environmental justice in a moment of climate emergency, neo-Malthusian population control, and border closures.

My doctoral dissertation and book project, Bodies and Borders, is set in Israel and Palestine. It demonstrates how Palestinian women's reproductive choices, practices and outcomes are impeded by a variety of borders set up to protect the Israeli settler colonial state, and asks what strategies Palestinian women use to overcome these borders and give birth in Israeli fertility clinics. Based on more than two years of ethnographic research with Israeli medical staff and Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment, it shows how Israeli authorities, policies, and medical staff’s practices limit reproductive justice for Palestinian women.
I am a postdoctoral fellow at UCL’s Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation and I received my PhD in Sociology from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. I was the academic curator of  “<Interrupted =“Cyfem and Queer>“ , a three-part interdisciplinary symposium on technology, gender, and sexuality, which took place in 2018 and 2019 in various locations in Berlin. Before that, I was research associate and project coordinator of a joint research project (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Tel Aviv University) on Body Politics in Israel/Palestine, Germany, and Turkey. 

My research and writing have been supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Humboldt University’s Caroline von Humboldt Program, the German Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation, and Humboldt University’s gender equality fund.

I am a member of diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery and contributed to Practices of Attunement, an itinerant study group.

Photography by Ink Agop, ©️ Creamcake
Website by Yuli Serfaty