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POSTPONED: The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery: A Conversation with Alys Weinbaum and Chandan Reddy
POSTPONED: The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery: A Conversation with Alys Weinbaum and Chandan Reddy
WhenWednesday, Apr. 8, 2020, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsSimpson Center for the Humanities


This conversation between Alys Weinbaum and Chandan Reddy draws out the political, philosophical and historical implications of Weinbaum's award winning book, The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery: Biocapitalism and Black Feminism's Philosophy of History (Duke University Press, 2019).  

The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery explores the continuing resonances of Atlantic slavery in the cultures and politics of human reproduction that characterize contemporary biocapitalism. As a form of racial capitalism that relies on the commodification of the human reproductive body, biocapitalism is dependent on what Weinbaum calls the slave episteme--the racial logic that drove four centuries of slave breeding in the Americas and the Caribbean.  Weinbaum outlines how the slave episteme shapes the practice of reproduction today, especially through the use of biotechnology and surrogacy.  Engaging a broad set of texts from Toni Morrison's Beloved and Octavia Butler's speculative fiction to black Marxism and legal theory, Weinbaum shows how poly-vocal black feminist contributions from the 1970s, 80s and 90s together constitute a powerful philosophy of history--one that provides the means through which to understand how reproductive slavery haunts the present.

Alys Weinbaum is Professor of English at UW. The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery is the winner of The Sarah A. Whaley Book Prize, awarded to an outstanding book on women and labor by the National Women’s Studies Association, and an Honorable Mention for The Gloria E. Anzaldúa Prize for groundbreaking contribution to women of color/transnational feminism.  It is the sequel to her earlier book, Wayward Reproductions: Genealogies of Race and Nation in Transatlantic Modern Thought.  She is co-author (with Tani Barlow, Madeleine Yue Dong, Uta Poiger, Priti Ramamurthy, and Lynn Thomas) of The Modern Girl Around the World:  Gender, Consumption and Modernity and co-editor (with Susan Gillman) of Next to the Color Line:  Gender, Sexuality and W. E. B. Du Bois.  Weinbaum teaches courses on Marxist and feminist theory, race, and transatlantic literature and culture.

Chandan Reddy is Associate Professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and the Comparative History of Ideas at UW. He is the author of Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality and the U.S. States, the winner of The Alan Bray Memorial Award for Queer studies from the MLA and the Best Book in Cultural Studies from the Asian American Studies Association.  He is co-editor (with Jodi Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, and Jodi Melamed) of "Economies of Dispossession: Indigeneity, Race, Capitalism," Social Text. He is Director of the Graduate Certificate in Sexuality Studies, and a founding board member of the Certificate in Public Scholarship housed at the Simpson Center.  Reddy teaches courses on race, sexuality, colonialism and comparative modernities.

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