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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Communicating Reproduction Conference

Another event from the Generation to Reproduction research Group at Cambridge. I greatly enjoyed their Reproduction and the Sciences conference last April

Communicating Reproduction

A conference to be held in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, on 5–6 December 2011
Scholars have explored continuities and discontinuities in theories of sex and gender; knowledge of entities such as seeds, germs, embryos, monsters and clones; concerns about creation, evolution, degeneration and regeneration; investments in maternity, paternity and heredity; practices of fertility control, potency and childbirth; and health relations between citizen and state, individual and population. But we have paid much less attention to the huge changes in processes and media of communication. There is important work on specific practices, from education to advertising, conversation to mass entertainment, and on specific media, from ritual objects to printed books, films to the internet. But we lack synthetic and comparative accounts. This conference aims to explore how we might best ground debates about reproduction in changing practices of communication over the long term, though primarily within the Western tradition. Nor is reproduction just a lens through which to view the history of communication. For generation and reproduction are themselves potent metaphors for communication. Richard de Bury wrote in Philobiblon (1345) of the making of books as a form of generation across time and modern authors often frame the distribution of identical copies in terms of mechanical reproduction.
The conference will bring together scholars representing ancient to modern periods and various disciplines. Talks will be 20-minute summaries of pre-circulated papers, followed by commentary and discussion in one-hour slots in such a way as to promote dialogue and critical engagement between fields and approaches.
Speakers and provisional titles:
  • Helen King (Open University)
    Educating Lucina: midwives and the communication of reproductive knowledge, ancient and early modern
  • Montserrat Cabré (Universidad de Cantabria, Spain)
    Iberian recipes and the appropriation of knowledge in relation to human reproduction
  • Catherine Rider (University of Exeter)
    Communicating religious views of infertility in the Middle Ages
  • Jennifer Richards (Newcastle University)
    'Issue dangerous to the Queen': pregnancy and politics in the Elizabethan polity
  • Mary Fissell (The Johns Hopkins University)
    Making a masterpiece from bits and pieces
  • Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter)
    Reproduction and the post-Darwinian novel
  • Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter)
    Reproducing species
  • Wendy Kline (University of Cincinnati)
    Coming home: modern midwifery and the controversy over home birth
  • Solveig Jülich (Stockholm University)
    The Lennart Nilsson-industry: remediating images of life before birth
  • Uta Schwarz (Cologne)
    Introduction to the film Helga (1967)
  • Ludmilla Jordanova (King's College, London)
    Closing comments
Organisers: Nick Hopwood, Peter Jones, Lauren Kassell, Francis Neary, Jim Secord
Funding: Wellcome Trust strategic award in the history of medicine on Generation to Reproduction
The registration fee of £40 (£20 for students/unwaged) includes lunch and tea/coffee on both days, a reception in the Books & Babies exhibition at the University Library and the film screening.
To register, please fill in the registration form and send it with a cheque for the registration fee (made payable to 'University of Cambridge') to:
Francis Neary
Communicating Reproduction Conference
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Cambridge
Free School Lane

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