About Us

In developing the research agenda on reproduction (biological and social) and its associated meanings, practices and technologies, we are interested in the following empirical question: How is the making of babies and their socialization – through care and kinning as well as their preparation to become future citizens – (re)imagined in relation to rapidly changing social, economic and planetary conditions?

By using the idea of re-imagining reproduction on the African continent, we aim to assess discourses and perceptions of reproduction that frame it primarily in terms of a natural given, of abundance, pathology, mortality, and irresponsibility.

Instead of starting from abundance, we start from scarcity, the idea that one does not have or have enough. Scarcity in children can be due to various forms of biological conditions (i.e infertility) but it can also be due to social and environmental conditions, as well as moral decisions. Instead of conceiving reproduction and the absence of it as a primarily biological process, we use the idea of “longing”. We ask how longing for pregnancies and children or for avoiding reproduction is related to what our sensitising notion of “re-imagining” indexes – new beginnings and, in some cases, emancipation (from for instance heteronormative orderings, understandings of authority and individual independence). We are interested in the intersectional characteristics of reproduction and what it may mean for people of different ages, races, abilities, men, women and for LGBTQI persons.

We are initially working in five countries across the continent – Eswatini, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Kenya. One of the values that unite us as a team is our interest in challenging and/or troubling disciplinary boundaries. One of our strengths is our diverse locations, socially and intellectually, and the differences in our career stages, experiences and trajectories. Disciplinary diversity is an additional advantage for this team given that we are vested in pursuing a research agenda that is collaborative and comparative, as well as building a diverse network.

In addition to the core team, we have an advisory board, with five members based in the five countries named above and an additional member from the USA. While we specifically want to avoid the inequalities that plague collaborations between the North and the South, as a team based in specific African countries, we are cognisant that we are not working in a vacuum. We welcome and encourage discussions and conversations with others on the continent, in other parts of the global South and beyond.