Demographic Anxieties: Bodies, Borders, and Reproductive Injustice in Israel/Palestine

(under contract with University of California Press)

This book examines how the Israeli settler colonial state and its borders shape Palestinian women’s reproductive freedom. Demographic Anxieties uses the Black feminist reproductive justice framework to show how Israeli policies profoundly impact Palestinian women’s reproductive rights, health, and decision-making and to foreground the sexual politics of settler colonialism in Israel and beyond. 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, this book takes Israeli hospitals, fertility departments, maternity wards, and infrastructures of care as sites of inquiry into the governance of Palestinians’ lives. 

Demographic Anxieties examines the everyday encounters between Palestinian patients and Jewish Israeli doctors to argue that alongside the spectacular and disastrous forms of Israeli state violence, we must also consider quotidian forms of surveillance and control to understand Israeli politics. The key intervention of this book is to show how these overlooked sites of “tender violence” are foundational for the settler state to implement its sexual and demographic politics. It explores how Israeli political subjectivity, and its collective structure of feeling is founded on the control and restriction of the Palestinian population’s reproduction. In other words, Demographic Anxieties argues that reproductive injustice is a feature, not a bug of the settler colonial project.