Pregnancy without Women

deadline for submissions: 
February 13, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Aimee Wilson and Karen Weingarten
contact email: 

We're looking for one or two panelists and a non-presenting moderator to join our panel at the National Women's Studies Conference in November 2017 in Baltimore. More information about the conference can be found here:

Pregnancy without Women: Representations of Reproduction in Art, Literature, Film, and Culture

Almost twenty years ago, Jack Halberstam challenged scholars to consider “masculinity without men.” At the time, this endeavor might have seemed perverse, but it ultimately challenged feminists to rethink the discourses they relied on to frame sexuality and sexual identities. In similarly counter-intuitive fashion, this panel seeks papers that theorize pregnancy without women from feminist and/or queer perspectives. Although this may be unfamiliar territory in academic scholarship, in the political realm it is quite common – and successful – as a tactic among anti-choice activists who seek to delegitimize women’s right to bodily autonomy by framing abortion as an issue that encompass more than just women (men, the nation, etc.). In a sense, pro-choice and pro-abortion activists might learn from these dissenting arguments by turning attention away from women and toward, for instance, fetuses or transgender men in the service of reproductive justice for women. We’re interested in how economics, race, and ability complicate both “pro-choice” rhetoric that relies on fairly narrow constructions of a self-reliant woman and also conceives of pregnancy (and abortion) as an issue that impacts more than just women. To paraphrase Halberstam, considering pregnancy without women “affords us a glimpse of how [pregnancy] is constructed as [pregnancy].” Since pregnancy without women is not yet a biological possibility, we are particularly interested in papers that consider imaginative constructions of pregnancy through art, literature, film, and so forth.

Topics might include:

   -Artificial reproductive technologies
   -Fetuses/reproduction of slaves as economic output
   -Pregnancy as/not disability
   -Pregnancy in science and speculative fiction
   -Men and pregnancy/ abortion
   -Economics of pregnancy and abortion
   -Social Politics of Selective Abortion

We seek one or two panelists and a non-presenting moderator. If you are interested in presenting, please send 250-word abstracts by February 13, 2017 to Aimee Wilson ( and Karen Weingarten ( If you are interested in moderating the panel, please send a short bio to the email addresses above.