My Website

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Reproduction and the Sciences, Cambridge, 8 April, conference notes

This was an excellent and remarkably wide-ranging conference given the apparently delimited conference theme. For example, the trade in bodies and body parts around the turn of the C19th/C20th both as to how anatomists obtained them and the intraprofessional trade system. Or the importance of marsupial reproductive biology and its cryptic nature (at least from a mammalian perspective) in the development of anthropology in the earlier part of the C20th and the pre-eminent theme of kinship therein.

One thing that segued from paper to paper was the significance of networks, and the importance of women (often without any formal academic/official position, and not infrequently occluded in the later narratives) within those networks. And on women, one thing that came out of the paper on anthropology was the impact of late C20th reproductive technology (IVF etc) on reviving Kinship Studies (previously, while fatherhood had been conceived as a social construction, maternity was still pretty much essentialised and seen as 'natural').

Life-cycle narrative themes: why did Sir Alan Parkes return to Cambridge very late in life. What were the facts. ma'am, about Robert Edwards, Patrick Steptoe and the development of IVF as opposed to Edwards' several versions about how and when they met and their mutual influence.

The full programme is here.

No comments:

Post a Comment