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Lecture 9

Women's Studies 2160A/B Lecture 9: Lect 9 Cyborg Fetus lecture
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Department
Women's Studies
Course
Women's Studies 2160A/B
Professor
Desmond Mc Keon
Semester
Winter

Description
Monday, March 13, 2017 Lecture 1. Locating Ultrasounds What is ultrasound? ▪ A ultrasound image= sonogram ▪ Sound waves are propelled and when they hit the object they create the image ▪ The white parts are the denser parts ▪ The image is the visual interpretation of the movement of sound waves How they are used? ▪ Medically it is given between 16-20 weeks ▪ Non-medical ultrasounds (3D, 4D) History of obetertic ultrasound WWI – sonar systems used for underwater navigation in military 1930s- Karl and Friedrich Dussik develop as diagnostic 1969 – The 1 World Congress on Ultrasonic diagnostic tool (used on brain) 1970- one of the first published reports on the diagnosis of fedal malformation 1990s – ultrasound exam for each and every pregnancy at around 20 weeks becomes standard part of Western pregnancy ritual Medicalization of Pregnancy and Childbirth ▪ Medicalization: a process that involves seeing and treating natural experiences and socially created problems as biological diseases or illnesses that require medical surveillances or intervention ▪ Ultrasound is but one of many procedures that have increasingly come to be seen as ‘normal’ - Amniocentesis - Fetal heart-monitoring - Induced labor - Cea rian Section New Reproductive Technologies ▪ NRT: techniques that are used to facilitate conception or to control the quality of the fetuses that are produced Other Examples: - IVF (in vitro fertilization) - PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) – genetic testing on embryo - Prenatal diagnosis (includes amniocentestis ultrasound) What is technology? ▪ Not just a device; it is never neutral  always has an effect ▪ Examples: - Albert Borgman’s definition says it is a way of life because it is apart of our human condition and culture - Culture is a web that suspends us and that we also weave  is our doing and shapes what is possible ▪ Technological imperative: - This is when the technology is only shaping us and we have no effect on it What is a fetus? ▪ Medical definition: the unborn offspring from the end of the 8 week after conception until birth. Up until the eight week, the developing offspring is called an embryo ▪ Cyborgification: what we have come to recognize as a fetus is an effect of technology; the cyborg fetus as an effect of cyborgification - Producing the fetus as an effect Mills Sociological Imagination ▪ Argues that you aren’t doing sociological analysis until you’re looking at private troubles to public experiences ▪ Sociological imagination is connecting history and biography 2. The public and private lives of the fetus The Birth of the Public Fetus ▪ Became widely recognized after LIFE MAG published a picture on the cover in 1965 ▪ Swedish photographer Nilsson used an endoscope with an electronic flash to capture and picture appearing inside the magazine to chronicle the beginning of human life ▪ Gave a public image of fetus ▪ Featured in Nilssons book Child is Born Barabra Duden on the Public Fetus ▪ She wanted to know how the most private experience of the unborn became something that we would see on a public ‘billboard’ image ▪ What circumstances sparked public concerns for women’s bodies ▪ How is it possible to mobilize so many people to go along with this? What kinds of new things are being drawn Technology and intimate relations ▪ (bio)technology transforms relations ▪ Biotechnology - Technology aims to create, amplify, optimize or manipulate embodied forms of life or other vital processes - ‘new reproductive technologies have exercised profound effects on structures’ of parenting and kinship creating new relational categories like surrogate mother and sperm donors How does ultrasound technology transforms intimate relations? ▪ We isolate the fetus as separate entities ▪ Bonding ▪ Risk and reassurance – introduces this idea to the mother their might be something wrong ▪ Reassuring letting them know everything is okay ▪ Effect: they create new rituals and expectations of motherhood 3. The Cyborg Fetus Cyborg ▪ Donna Haraway, feminism science and technology studies ▪ Disturbs the opposition b/w nature and culture – our bodies aren’t fully natural ▪ Humans are natural/cultural ▪ Departs from traditional feminists ▪ This notion of ‘cyborg’ refuses to base feminist politics on the notion of a ‘natural’ female body or an ‘authentic’ or universal female experience - Assert the pro-creative power of the natural women’s body Why a ‘cyborg fetus’ ▪ What does the notion contribute to the fetus? -concepts theory impose a natural and cultural composition of the fetus the technology doesn’t just reveal but the fetus is an effect Questions: - How did the public fetus come to be recognized as such? - What is the difference? What is the cyborg fetus? ▪ Like all cyborgs, the cyborg fetus arises through the coupling of human and machine ▪ The technology doesn’t simply reveal the fetus, rather it’s through this coupling that the fetus ‘a
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