This ground-breaking book challenges us to re-think ourselves as techno-sapiens—a new species we are creating as we continually co-evolve ourselves with our technologies. While some of its chapters are imaginary, they are all empirically grounded in ethnography and richly theorized from diverse disciplines.
The authors go far beyond a techno-optimism vs. techno-pessimism stance, stretching our thinking about birthing techno-sapiens to consider not only how our cyborgian reproductive lives are constrained and/or enabled by technology but are also about emotions and spirit. The world of reproductive health care and particularly that of genetic engineering is developing exponentially, and current challenges are vastly different from those of a decade ago. The book is provocative, intended to generate debate, ideas, and future research and to influence ethical policy and practice in human techno-reproduction. It will be of interest across the social sciences and humanities, for reproductive scholars, bioethicists, techno-scientists, and those involved in the development and delivery of maternity services.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Birthing Techno-Sapiens
Robbie Davis-Floyd and Beverley Chalmers
Part 1: From Biocultural Evolution To Human-Technology Co-Evolution
1. Birth and the Big Bad Wolf: Biocultural Evolution and Human Childbirth
Melissa Cheyney and Robbie Davis-Floyd
2. Egg Freezing Activists: Extending Reproductive Futures to Cancer Patients, Single and Minority Women, and Transgender Men
Marcia C. Inhorn
3. The Speculative Turn In IVF: Egg Freezing, Reproductive Futures, and the Financialization Of Fertility
Lucy van de Wiel
4. Sociology as Technology: A Toolkit for Studying In Vitro Gametogenesis
5. Reproduction, Sacrificial Life, and the Logics of Attrition in the Afterlife of Apartheid
6. Making Better Babies? Past and Future State Fair Contests Evaluating Geneticized Worth
Meghna Mukherjee and Margaret Eby
7. Human Germline Genome Editing and Its Tech-Sumptions
Chapter 8. Evaluating Ectogenesis via the Metaphysics of Pregnancy
Suki Finn and Sasha Isaac
9. Elective Cesarean Births in the US and the Global Cesarean Epidemic: Causes, Solutions, and Futuristic Implications
10. Cancerous Contraceptives and the Incubation of Monsters: A Quechua Reproductive Etiology and Producing Necro-Techno-Sapiens
Part 2: Imagining Techno-Holistic Reproductive Futures
11. Water as a Technology to Support Embodied Autonomous Birthing
Kelly Kara and Suzanne Miller
12. The Birth of a New Human Being: The Utopian Project of the Late Soviet Water Birth Movement and Its Inheritors
13. Safety, Co-Regulation, and Polyvagal Theory: The Autonomic Nervous System as the Missing Link in Childbirth Outcomes and Experiences
14. Family-Centered, Evidence-Based, Psycho-Socially Sensitive, and Culturally Respectful Perinatal Care: Still a Futuristic Dream!
15. Flexible Helpers: Re-Scribing Obstetric Technologies to Generate More Viable Futures for "Good" Pregnancies and Births
16. Coming Home: Re-Visioning Place of Birth in the 21st Century
George Parker and Suzanne Miller
17. Creating Life in Star Trek: Future Imagineering
Dana Solomon and Beverley Chalmers
Conclusions: Birthing Techno-Sapiens in Disruptive Times
Beverley Chalmers and Robbie Davis-Floyd
Robbie Davis-Floyd, Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rice University, is author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage (2003) and Ways of Knowing about Birth: Mothers, Midwives, Medicine, and Birth Activism (2018). She has served as lead editor for 15 volumes, including Cyborg Babies: From Techo-Sex to Techno-Tots (1998) and Birth in Eight Cultures (2019).
"This is a theoretically robust and bold work that is well positioned to provoke debate, productive thinking, and practical responses."Lisa M. Mitchell, University of Victoria, Canada.