Mother India? Crossing Borders,
Controlling Births

by Asha Nadkarni & Sharmila Rudrappa

[April 13, 2018]

6PM to 8PM

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000
between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan


What have been the consequences for the cross-border traffic of feminism, birth control, and maternal surrogacy between India and the United States? How can these histories, and contemporary practices, deepen current struggles around feminism, imperialism, capitalism and reproductive justice? Please join us for a conversation featuring Asha Nadkarni, author of Eugenic Feminism: Reproductive Nationalism in the United States and India and Sharmila Rudrappa, author of Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India.

In Eugenic Feminism, Asha Nadkarni reveals connections between U.S. and Indian nationalist feminisms from the late nineteenth century through the 1970s, demonstrating that both call for feminist citizenship centered on the reproductive body as the origin of the nation. She contends that whenever feminists lay claim to citizenship based on women’s biological ability to “reproduce the nation” they are participating in a eugenic project—sanctioning reproduction by some and prohibiting it by others. Employing a range of sources from the U.S. and India, Nadkarni shows how the exclusionary impulse of eugenics is embedded within the terms of nationalist feminism.

Drawing from rich interviews with surrogate mothers and egg donors in Bangalore, as well as twenty straight and gay couples in the U.S. and Australia, Sharmila Rudrappa's Discounted Life focuses on the processes of social and market exchange in transnational surrogacy. In her detailed and moving study, Rudrappa delineates how local labor markets intertwine with global reproduction industries, how Bangalore’s surrogate mothers make sense of their participation in reproductive assembly lines, and the remarkable ways in which they negotiate positions of power for themselves in progressively untenable socio-economic conditions.

This conversation will be moderated by Sujani K. Reddy, author of Nursing and Empire: Gendered Labor and Migration from India to the United States.






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Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2018

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
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