CeBIL member Janne Rothmar Herrmann presents paper at the University of Cambridge – University of Copenhagen

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18 June 2018

CeBIL member Janne Rothmar Herrmann presents paper at the University of Cambridge

CeBIL member Janne Rothmar Herrmann presents the paper “Monster Moms – Motherhood at the Edge of Time” at the ReproSoc Conference – Remaking Reproduction at the University of Cambridge together with Charlotte Kroløkke (University of Southern Denmark) and Stine Willum Adrian (Aalborg University).

Ageing moms is a hot topic, as reproductive technologies routinely assist motherhood on the edge of time. Feminist scholars such as Donna Haraway (1992) and Margrit Shildrick (1997) argue that new reproductive technologies destabilize grand narratives on procreation and conception. To them, monstrous figures often evoked by new biotechnological developments illustrate what comes to be seen as outside of the ”normal,” making the figure of the monster a particularly promising analytical concept. In this article, we inquire into how socio-technical imaginaries of “old mothers” are constructed as monstrous, yet at times also are made to appear non-monstrous in the Danish law, in the Danish media debates and in observations carried out in a Danish fertility clinic. We deliberately combine ethnographic fieldwork with interviews with clinical staff, Danish mediated accounts, ethical debates, and the legal framework to identify what elements come together to construct older moms as ”monster moms”. The analysis highlights how the position of the monster mom entangles with normative understandings of reproductive temporality, the “natural” (good) mother, and the ”best interests of the child,” becoming smokescreens for particular worldviews on reproduction and the making of families.