Gala Rexer

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

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 sexual politics 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 book manuscript, Demographic Anxieties: Bodies, Borders, and Reproductive Injustice in Israel/Palestine, offers an analysis of how Israeli sexual and demographic politics limit Palestinian women’s reproductive rights, health, and decision-making. Based on in-depth interviews and more than two years of ethnographic research with Israeli medical staff and Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment in Israeli hospitals, Demographic Anxieties approaches Palestine as a generative site to theorize how in a settler colonial context, the making and management of gender, race, and space revolve around the reproductive body. It argues that thinking reproductive justice from Palestine offers an important lens onto the persistent embodied effects and afterlives of empire, European colonialism, and global white supremacy.

Photography by Ink Agop, ©️ Creamcake
Speaking (Upcoming)
“Critical, Speculative, Otherwise: Towards a Sociology of Refusal and Repair”, BSA Annual Conference “Sociological Voices in Public Discourse” (2023)

“Inseminating Resistance? Bodily Matter(ing) in the Case of Sperm Smuggling in the Occupied West Bank”, Conference “Territorial Bodies” (2023)

Past (selected)
“The Hospital as “Terra Nullius”: Medical Neutrality and the Political Conditions of Israeli Settler Colonialism”,  Sarah Parker Remond Centre’s “Colloquium on Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies”, UCL (2022).

“Extracting the Future: Military Environments and Reproductive Injustice”, Conference “Beyond Militarism”, University of Cambridge (2022)

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