Infertility: An Arts and Humanities Perspective

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Alexia Hannis and Amy Scott

Infertility: An Arts and Humanities Perspective


The social sciences have done important work on the ambiguous, often controversial area of infertility since the advent of modern assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Scholars such as Marcia Inhorn and Frank van Balen, for example, collect anthropological readings of infertility in their anthology, Infertility Around the Globe: New Thinking on Childnessness, Gender, and Reproductive Technologies; and Jane Hynes and Juliet Miller focus on the psychology of infertility in their anthology, Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology.   Thanks to these scholars, we have a better understanding of the anthropological, social, and psychological implications of infertility. 


The arts and humanities need to contribute more fully to this evolving conversation. Social scientists, Margerete Sandelowski and Sheryl de Lacey usefully define infertility as “a medically and socially liminal state” and “a discursive site where language and practices […] converge” (Infertility Around the Globe).  We believe that literature; literary history; philosophy; and critical theory – already themselves discursive sites preoccupied with liminality –  have much to add to our understanding of involuntary childlessness.


To that end, we are seeking creative non-fiction essays from scholars from within the arts and humanities for a paradigm-shifting anthology about overlooked, over-simplified, or controversial experiences and elements of infertility. Contributors should speak to a broad, intelligent readership within and beyond academia.  


Contributors may wish to address – but are not limited to – one of the following topics in relation to infertility:


Conception (same-sex and/or heterosexual);





Modern and/or historical reproductive technologies;

Genetic counselling and testing;

Idealization of maternity & childbirth;

Age and/or ageism;

Naturalization and/or medicalization of birth;



Please submit approximately 10,000 – 15,000 words by October 15th, 2018 to Amy Scott and Alexia Hannis at  (We welcome queries before the deadline.)


We plan to publish this work to mark the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th, 2020.