Pregnant Bodies – Embodied Pregnancy

Virtual Workshop
14.–15.01.2021

Due to COVID-19, this event takes place online via Zoom. All guests are welcome. For the registration please contact Antonia Villinger (antonia.villinger[at]uni-koeln.de).

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This two-day workshop focuses on the topic of pregnant bodies and the relation between biographies, gendered life-writing and embodied pregnancy. Bodies are in a constant process of transformation and change. They are neither fixed entities nor simply objects, and may be regarded as projects that are constantly in the process of becoming and unbecoming. They are experienced by social actors with various intersectional identities, are represented and narrated in public and private contexts. Among the periods and stages in which bodies are particularly discussed in terms of their transformative capacity and reproductive qualities is pregnancy.

Pregnant bodies experience themselves as both facilitators and participants in a creative and transformative process, and engage in a dialectic relationship with the ‘unborn’. Depending on the various perspectives, the unborn may be interpreted as fetus, child, body, life, etc. Out of this intimate relationship arise different gendered configurations; for example, the processes of (re)producing bodies/subjects establish and transform relationships and hierarchical structures among the social actors involved, producing ‘mothers’, ‘fathers’ and ‘children’. Further, pregnant bodies are often considered to be sites of public interest, as is shown by the current debates about, for example, abortion and (single and trans) parenthood; they are policed, medicalized and/or essentialized in different cultural contexts. Embodied experiences of pregnancy have also been transformed, for example by the different technological visualizations of the unborn, e.g. the development of fetal ultrasound imaging.