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 60 in- depth interviews and more than two years of ethnographic research with Israeli medical staff and Palestinian women undergoing fertility treatment in Israeli hospitals, this book examines how the Israeli health system 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 frames Palestinian women’s (reproductive) rights through liberal frameworks of inclusion, access, and recognition. Instead, the objective of this book is to show how liberal paradigms are insufficient a lens to understand the obstacles Palestinian women face in the Israeli fertility economy. It argues that the provision of health services and reproductive technologies is not enough to guarantee reproductive justice in a settler colonial context, and contextualizes these provisions within an affective, racialized, and gendered economy.
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 book (re)visits core concepts of social theory - citizenship, intimacies, representation - as well as crucial sites of inquiry, such as the hospital, the prison, or infrastructures. In each of these conceptual or material sites, it examines the encounter between Palestinian bodies and the borders set up to protect the Israeli state, and analyzes how these encounters shape Palestinian women’s reproductive health and rights. In so doing, this book makes three distinct contributions: (1) it develops reproductive justice as a framework to theorize reproduction, health, medicine, and sexuality as sites of settler colonial population management, (2) it critically engages with the political conditions and temporalities of (reproducing) life in Israel/Palestine, and (3) it incorporates reproductive justice as a research methodology reflecting a world structured by white supremacy, asking important questions about how white innocence is reproduced in the field and tracing the ethnographic limits of doing research with minoritized populations. Bodies and Borders thus explores how we can better understand Israel and Palestine through the lens of reproductive justice, and how we can refine the theoretical, methodological, and political insights that the reproductive justice framework has to offer.