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
                #4 most read paper on The Sociological Review Magazine website in 2022.


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?




Podcasts




SPRC podcast series



Gala Rexer welcomes Françoise Vergès, franco-Reunionnese activist, independent curator, and public educator at the Sarah Parker Remond Centre, to talk about her most recent books, A Feminist Theory of Violence (2022), The Wombs of Women. Race, Capital, Feminism (2020,) and A Decolonial Feminism (2019).

Françoise discusses how women’s rights have been deployed in the service of the carceral state, and how a decolonial feminism needs to reimagine a collective politics of protection against violence, pollution, and exhaustion outside of the nation-state form and capital. Françoise calls upon us to strike, unionize, and fight back, to rethink the family, reproduction, and care outside of racialized frameworks of security and deservingness, and to nourish comrade- and friendship, revolutionary love, and inter-generational transmission of feminist thought. 


Teaching





graduate and undergraduate teaching 2021-2023 (selected)

Guest Lectures


 “Health, Difference and Inequality”, MA History & Philosophy of Science, session on Reproductive (In)Justice, UCL, Department of Science and Technology Studies (2023)

“The Politics of Health and Medicine: Race, Gender, Nation”, MA Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies, session on Race, Capital, Feminism, UCL, Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (2023)

“Researching Race”, MA Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies, co-taught session on Feminist and Abolitionist Ethnography, UCL, Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (2023)

“Multidisciplinary Approaches to Gender Studies”, MA Gender, Society, and Representation, session on Decolonial Feminism, UCL, Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry (2022)

“Re:production. Queer-Feminist Perspectives on Reproduction and Racialization”, BA Gender Studies, session on Migration and Eugenics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (2022)

“Race and Anti-Racism”, MA Social Sciences, student Q&A, article Borderlands of Reproduction, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Social Sciences (2021)
Graduate level course, fall semester 2016/17  (co-taught together with Prof. Gökce Yurdakul) and 2017/18

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

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


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 the Palestinian case to spell out the conditions of a justice-based approach to reproduction and a right to family. Demographic Anxieties argues that for Palestinians in Israel, access to the symbolic and material resources needed to have children is not only limited by the ongoing process of Israeli settler colonialism – occupation, militarization, dispossession – but is also mediated by how Israeli demographic anxieties structure Palestinian everyday lives, reproductive decision-making, and kin-work. It demonstrates how the Israeli state’s demographic concerns engender notions of security, belonging, respectability, or deservingness, and examines how these, in turn, shape Israeli institutions, policies, and medical staff’s treatment of their Palestinian patients. This ethnography does not turn away from the overt structures of Israeli dominance but traces them in the overlooked sites of “tender violence”, infrastructures of care, and varying degrees of inclusion. While Israel presents its thriving medical sector and renowned fertility economy as humanitarian sites of co-existence, this book takes Israeli hospitals, and their fertility departments and maternity wards, as sites of inquiry into the governance of intimate everyday lives and, as such, as sites of settler colonial population control and Indigenous resistance.

Through its multi-disciplinary theoretical approach, drawing from Black feminist theory, feminist STS, and border studies, Demographic Anxieties contends that Israeli statecraft and its affective structures limit Palestinians’ reproductive rights and health across a variety of scales. The book’s chapters move from citizenship, infrastructure, and the hospital to intimacies, and carcerality. 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. In so doing, this book makes three distinct contributions: (1) Empirically, it uses the case of Israeli demographic anxieties and how they affect Palestinians’ everyday lives to think through a justice-based approach to reproduction, the provision of reproductive technology, and the right to family. (2) Theoretically, it introduces reproductive justice as a transnational lens and theorizes it across different sites in Israel/Palestine, including borders, law, policy, medical space, and affective economies. (3) Methodologically, it integrates reproductive justice as a critical research methodology. It examines how white innocence and ignorance are co-produced in the field and traces the ethnographic limits of doing research with marginalized populations at the intersection of entangled histories of oppression.


Speaking



Conference Presentations & Workshops
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)


Photography by Ink Agop, ©️ Creamcake


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 book manuscript, Demographic Anxieties: Bodies, Borders, and Reproductive Injustice in Israel/Palestine, shows how the Israeli state’s demographic concerns and imperatives govern Palestinians’ everyday lives, intimate decision making, and reproductive resistance across contemporary Israel and Palestine. 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 takes the Palestinian case to spell out the conditions of a justice-based approach to reproduction and a right to family.
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 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