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Week 19

Theme Four: Medicine, science, and the family

Week 19

Reproductive Technologies: International Perspectives

In the unit thus far, we have looked principally at Euro-American responses to the new technologies of reproduction. Here we will look further afield, and explore responses to the NRTs in Japan, Zimbabwe and Israel. These international perspectives will offer us an alternative lens on our own disputes over the morality, ethics and equity of our newfound ability to control reproductivity.



Discussion: Historical Contingency and Cultural Contestation in Responses to Reproductive Technologies

In reading the articles listed above, think about the degree to which specific national histories, broad cultural expectations and aversions, and narrow issues of political and economic interest have shaped different international responses to the NRTs. What do these studies also suggest about responses to abortion, birth control, and eugenic/selective technologies in Europe and North America?


Essential reading:

  • Yael Hashiloni-Dolev, ‘Between Mothers, Fetuses and Society: Reproductive Genetics in the Israeli-Jewish Context’, Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 12 (2006) 129-150
  • Amy Kaler, ‘A Threat to the Nation and a Threat to the Men: The Banning of Depo-Provera in Zimbabwe, 1981’, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 347-376.
  • Tiana Norgren, ‘Abortion before Birth Control: The Interest Group Politics Behind Postwar Japanese Reproduction Policy’, Journal of Japanese Studies 24, No. 1 (Winter, 1998), pp. 59-94.



Background and Further Reading:

Marcelo de Alcantara, ‘Surrogacy In Japan: Legal Implications For Parentage And Citizenship’, Family Court Review 48 No. 3,(July 2010): 417–430.

Margaret-Mary Franz and Chiba Motoko. "Abortion, Contraception, and Motherhood In Post-War Japan and the United States." International Journal of Women's Studies 3, no. 1 (January 1980): 66-75.

Margaret Lock, ‘Perfecting society: reproductive technologies, genetic testing and the planned family in Japan’, in Lock and Kaufert, Pragmatic Women and Body Politics (CUP, 1998): 206-239.

Todd M. Krim, ‘Beyond Baby M: International Perspectives on Gestational Surrogacy and the Demise of the Unitary Biological Mother’, Annals of Health Law, 193 (1996)

Shiori Nomura, ‘The voices of women on birth control and childcare: a Japanese immigrant newspaper in the early twentieth-century USA’, Japan Forum [serial online]. July 2009;21(2):255-276.

Laury Oaks, ‘Fetal spirithood and fetal personhood: the cultural construction of abortion in Japan’, Women's Studies International Forum; 17 (5) Sep-Oct 94, p.511-23