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Humanities Institute

Molecular Feminisms, Reproductive Justice, and the Case of Methyl Isocyanate

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Molecular Feminisms, Reproductive Justice, and the Case of Methyl Isocyanate
March 1, 2017 6:15 pm
March 1, 2017 7:30 pm
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Time: 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: 3201 Hart

Drawing from her current book project Molecular Feminisms, Roy addresses some critical questions that have been posed by feminists in the social sciences and humanities on the nature of matter. Many of these feminists have recently turned their attention to the agentic or generative capacities of animal, bacterial, vegetal, and molecular bodies in order to create more theoretically expansive treatments of biological matter. These feminist projects converge with the interests of many scientists and women’s health advocates who also work with biological materials and participate in the production of scientific knowledge through their own theories and everyday practices. In an attempt to demonstrate this convergence, Roy turns specifically to a case study of the chemical compound methyl isocyanate (MIC) by discussing the MIC gas leak tragedy that occurred in 1984 at the Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant in the city of Bhopal, India. Despite MIC-related reproductive health issues and possible MIC-mediated epigenetic effects that continue to impact the residents of Bhopal, there has been a surprising increase in assisted reproductive technology clinics and surrogacy services in this city. In order to better understand MIC’s role in this distributed reproduction and its generative capacities in the transplacental migration of biopolitics, Roy incorporates reproductive justice and practice-oriented feminist STS approaches. Her goal is to create a shared space and vocabulary for feminists, scientists, and reproductive justice advocates to make ontological, epistemological, and ethical inquiries into the nature of biological matter.

Deboleena Roy is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University. She received her PhD in reproductive neuroendocrinology and molecular biology from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. Her fields of interest include feminist theory, feminist science and technology studies, neuroscience, molecular biology, postcolonial theory, and reproductive justice movements.

This event is sponsored by Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies (GSW)

For more information please contact: Wendy Ho, waho@ucdavis.edu

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