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Reproductive Injustice: A Feature, Not a Bug of Settler Colonialism

Waterloo Bridge Wing, Franklin Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus, London

Palestine is a reproductive justice issue – empirically and epistemologically.

In this paper, Gala Rexer draws from and contextualizes fieldwork she has conducted with Palestinian women with different legal statuses vis-à-vis the Israeli state who are trying to get pregnant in Israeli fertility clinics.

Palestinian women’s experiences in Israeli hospitals reveal how the Israeli settler colonial state and its borders shape Palestinian women’s reproductive freedom. Gala takes the Black feminist paradigm of reproductive justice to Palestine to ask crucial questions about the conditions to make autonomous reproductive decisions under settler colonialism and ongoing genocidal violence.

Taking inspiration from Katherine McKittrick’s generative suggestion that “[d]oing anticolonial work in the academy and talking about race in relation to discipline and interdiscipline can be enriched by thinking across texts and places” (McKittrick, 2021: 45), Gala explores the links between Black women’s invention and implementation of the reproductive justice framework and the Palestinian cause. In connecting the Palestinian struggle for liberation and its embodied forms with the Black feminist literature on reproduction, she conceptualizes reproductive injustice as a feature, not a bug of (Israeli) settler colonialism.

About the speaker: Gala Rexer is a feminist sociologist, Lecturer (Teaching) in Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies at UCL, and incoming Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Warwick. Her work draws from the fields of feminist and queer theory, anti-colonial thought, medical humanities, and global sociology, and has appeared in academic journals, including Ethnic and Racial Studies, Body and Society, and The Sociological Review Magazine.

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