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Reproductive Fictions cancelled

ENGL 390.401
crosslisted as: GSWS 390
instructor(s):
TR 12-1:30pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Pre-1900 Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major

This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on reproduction, which we will consider not simply as a biological fact but as a complex social process that relies on representation (scientific, political, and literary). Our goal will be to analyze—in part via fictional narratives from Frankenstein to the realist novel to contemporary science fiction—what enables or prevents the reproduction of certain bodies, lives, identities, and social structures. Since nearly every story about the conception of the next generation implies both an origin and a projected future, we will consider what versions of the future (and whose future) we are encouraged to imagine as either guaranteed or threatened by reproduction. We will discuss longstanding debates surrounding human procreation, including the history of sexuality, the regulation of fertility and demography, contraception, abortion, the intersection of race and gender, eugenics, class and social reproduction, family structures, biological kinship and citizenship, reproductive labor, and the commodification of genetic material. In analyzing novels, we will also consider the significance of textual reproduction, both on a functional level (industrial print production) and on a rhetorical level (for example, in arguments about what kinds of cultural materials should be reproduced or about the genealogy of literary works). Readings will include fiction by Mary Shelley, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Octavia Butler, and Kazuo Ishiguro, together with scientific writing, sociological analysis, and recent contributions to gender and sexuality studies, bioethics, political theory, and law.