Work in Progress
Bodies and Borders: Mapping Reproductive Injustice in Israel/Palestine
This book asks, what are the ways in which Palestinian women's reproductive choices, practices and outcomes are impeded by the (concrete, affective, and interior) borders set up to protect the Israeli settler colonial state? And what strategies do Palestinian women use to overcome these borders and give birth in Israeli fertility clinics? I analyze how the Israeli fertility economy works internally, how its operations conjoin with the Israeli state’s population politics, and how Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment experience this medical context and its wider political implications. Based on more than two years of ethnographic research with Israeli medical staff and Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment in Israeli hospitals, I examine how Israeli authorities, policies, and medical staff’s practices limit Palestinian women’s access to reproductive technologies, but also their access to the resources needed to become a parent and raise children more broadly.
Bodies and Borders demonstrates the multilayeredness of the reproductive justice framework. On the macro level, it shows how Israeli settler colonialism shapes infrastructures, institutions, and biomedical regulations. On the meso level, it attends to patient-doctor interactions and how affect hardens in visible and invisible borders within and around the medical sphere. And finally, on the micro level, it examines how gametes are activated in practices of reproductive resistance, but also reproduce gendered power structures. Across these different scales, my research challenges Israel’s international reputation as pioneering in reproductive and other biomedical technologies and contributes to further understanding how racial inequalities shape reproductive choices and outcomes. Through its multi-disciplinary approach, drawing from Black Feminist Theory, STS, and Border Studies, my book project charts reproductive injustice in a transnational context. It shows how medicine and (reproductive) technologies are not only shaped by coercive policies, but become vectors to reinforce embodied inequalities, opening up wider questions about the ways in which nation-states’ population politics restrict the birth of those always already deemed “too many.”