By Valerie Hartouni
Booklet by means of Hartouni, Valerie
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Additional resources for Cultural Conceptions: On Reproductive Technologies and the Remaking of Life
Indeed, that appropriation becomes a question at all reveals a tear in the fabric of fact and a fracturing of the core of women's identity. Fetal protection statutes, then, mend and solder. They reassert the "voice of the natural" where this voice has been muted or silenced and thereby function, perhaps most importantly, as an indictment. Inasmuch as it is through women that this voice has traditionally spoken, fetal protection statutes imply by their mere existence that women have lost heart or touch with the deepest source of their identity and thus become not only dysfunctional but potentially dangerous.
How did appraisals of bone and analyses of data organize and enforce difference as incapacity or work to produce race and sex as objects of knowledge while in the process codifying a system of classification that positioned both as naturally subordinate? What renders these appraisals plausible, makes them make sense, lends them explanatory power? What world(s) do they contain and construct, assume and (re)inscribe, yet leave unwritten? From a distance that is historical, epistemological, and probably also psychological, the logic and operation of seeing—the particular configurations of power or particular discursive practices—clearly at work in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century accounts of discovery and difference generating "new ways of interpreting the body [that were also] new ways of representing and constituting social realities"29 can be easily ascertained and mapped.
5 Orphan embryos saved—embryos we do not usually think of as "orphanable," as independent life forms floating about in the world, as parentless minors, in trouble, on the loose, lost, lonely, abandoned, in need of being saved, "rescued," or adopted. To the degree that we think of them as being "in the world" at all, it is as attached 28 / Containing Women and "embodied"—in a body, part of a body, and a body that is, still, necessarily and exclusively female. That embryos might be in the world, "parentless" or "detached," "unembodied," and "unembodiable" without dramatic legal—not to mention medical—intervention suggests a dicey situation indeed, and it was into just such a situation that the embryos referred to in the headline had apparently been cast.
Cultural Conceptions: On Reproductive Technologies and the Remaking of Life by Valerie Hartouni