Notes from Prague: Probing the Boundaries of Reproduction

Origins, Bodies, Transitions, Futures

The day dawns bright on the first day of my second inter-disciplinary conference. Probing the Boundaries of Reproduction seeks to explore the boundaries of reproduction, not merely as physical birth but more broadly as an agent of change, of bodily, sexual, cultural (and even viral) transitions. From iconic images of the incarnation to depictions of monstrous births, the cultural rituals and mythologies of reproduction continue to fascinate us. Bodies that copulate, bodies that reproduce, bodies that replicate, change, decay—or divide—produce anxiety about the boundaries of self and identity.

Reproduction, like evolution, reminds us that we are ever in flux, that change is inevitable. Birth, like death, forces us to acknowledge the limits of our bodies and our ‘selves.’ Additionally, this age of epidemics and viral warfare incites dystopic visions of a future where the effective reproducers are micro-organisms, where humans have been replaced by a replicating other.  We seek to explore not only the biological imperative of preserving a species, but also our search for origins, our search for ourselves, our desires, our sexual identities, our gods.

May 12, 2013

Session 1: Pathological Reproduction: Birth and Death

Death In Birth: Historical Perspectives on Infant, Mother, and Fetal Death in Early America
K. A. Woytonik
University of New Hampshire, USA

Pandemic Preparedness and the Emergent Frontiers of Viral Reproduction
Gloria Chan-Sook Kim
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, USA

Reading Anorexia in the Family Crypt Jen Craig Writing and Society Research Centre, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Session 2: Monstrous Conceptions, Conceptual Monsters

Conception of the Clone: Metaphorical Rebirths of Clones as Cultural Strategies of Repair and Boundaries of Cultural Reproduction
Stefan Halft
University of Passau, Germany

Laws’ Embryo: Reproducing Fears of Modern Monsters
Wayne Rumbles
Faculty of Law, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Conjoined Twins: Monstrosity, Technology & Separation
Claire Fletcher
University of Wollongong, Australia

We hope you will join us here again on May 13 for more–and please follow us at #IDnetR!

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