CFP AAA 2015 – Making Parents

Call for Papers: American Anthropological Association Meetings
Denver, CO, USA November 18-22nd 2015

Making parents:
Assisted reproduction and parenting culture in contemporary society

Organisers: Dr Charlotte Faircloth (University of Roehampton) and Dr Zeynep Gurtin (University of Cambridge)

Panel Discussant: Professor Marcia Inhorn (Yale University)

Whilst ‘Parenting Culture’ and ‘Assisted Reproductive Technologies’ are now well-established subfields of anthropological scholarship, so far, the common threads between these two bodies of work have not been significantly explored. Taking ‘reproduction’ as the locus of this comparison, this panel will showcase novel contributions from scholars working in either field who are interested in creating such connections. In particular, we seek papers exploring the ways contemporary cultures of parenthood create an appetite for these technologies, just as technologies simultaneously contribute to shaping those very cultures. One of the paradoxes scholars working in these fields have observed, for example, is that despite their overt attempts to create relations and relationships, underlying logics (of both reproductive technologies and the intensification of parenting) can reinforce feelings of segregation and isolation. Moreover, in both cases, unresolved questions around what is “natural”, who is responsible, and how outcomes may be influenced can force individuals into positions of great (perceived) accountability, exacerbating the very “problems” the purported expertise is trying to combat. It is our contention that building bridges between these two bodies of scholarship will prove very productive, not only by fostering dialogue between new colleagues, but also by enabling a more explicit and holistic illumination of the (sometimes contradictory) core values at stake in contemporary attitudes towards reproduction and parenting.

In developing the links between these two bodies of scholarship, we seek papers engaging with topics and themes that include, but are not limited to:

  • Parenthood and identity, including narratives of expected, desired and disrupted reproduction
  • Gendered expectations and experiences of reproduction and parenting
  • The intensification of reproduction and parenting and/as the individualization of a social problem
  • Expertise, consumerism and anxiety in cultures of reproduction and parenting
  • Dissonance between expectation and reality: negotiating (perceived) stigma, shame and judgment
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on historical shifts in reproduction and parenting

Please email abstracts of 250 words to the organisers Charlotte Faircloth ( and Zeynep Gurtin ( by Friday 3rd April. Selected participants will be notified by Friday 10th April.