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Controlling Sexuality and Reproduction, Past and Present
August 12-14, 2015
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Paul A. Lombardo
Dorothy E. Roberts

Sexuality and its effects, as Michel Foucault once claimed, operate as dense transfer points of power relations. As such, states, institutions and citizen groups have been and continue to be deeply concerned with producing an ideal, normative citizenry by controlling sex, sexuality and reproduction.

Certain kinds of sexuality and certain kinds of sexual actors are more likely than others to be policed and contained. In the past and in the current context, marginalized people and practices have been subject to containment, harassment, prosecution or ‘correction’ in terms of their sexual and reproductive lives.
These practices have included the classification or sorting of peoples in the following ways:

  • as disabled,
  • as gender or sexually deviant
  • as Aboriginal or members of a racialized group
  • as members of non-normative family forms,
  • as inmates, in prisons, asylums  and other institutional sites,
  • as dependent on the welfare state,
  • as  engaging in non-heteronormative sexual practices
  • as involved in sex work and/or sex surrogacy

Historical and current-context efforts at containment of those classified accordingly have included:

  • eugenics, or the involuntary sterilization of disabled people, imprisoned people and members of indigenous and other racialized groups;
  • policing and prosecuting polygynous and polygamous family forms
  • heteronormative surveillance, policing and regulation of queer and trans* people
  • the protectionism, infantilization or demonization of disabled or mad people
  • limiting support and access to disabled people’s sexual and familial lives
  • regulation and prosecution of sex workers and sex surrogates
  • chemical and medical interventions in prisons, institutions, hospitals, and asylums
  • segregation through residential schools and other institutions
  • segregation and containment embedded in community practice, and in immigration policy

The conference seeks to explore and challenge the seeming naturalness of historical and current efforts to control and marginalize certain kinds of sex and reproduction, and to illuminate commonalities and differences amongst these various efforts to police sexual, reproductive and family lives. We ask why and how particular sets of behaviours or peoples are targets of control, and thus seek to examine what kinds of ‘normal’ values are being upheld. We encourage presentations that illuminate the productions of ableism, heteronormativity, Whiteness, gender, and ideal citizenship.

For more information visit the conference website, or follow on Facebook.

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