Katharine Dow & Heather McMullen
KATHARINE DOW & HEATHER MCMULLEN
Small Group Project 2021
This project engages with the most pressing problem of our time: the environmental crisis. Drawing on the environmental reproductive justice framework, we ask what kinds of transformations in kinship and reproduction, and what future imaginaries of relationality are thinkable and possible, in the context of environmental crisis. We approach this problem through a methodology that is based in a critique of the political, economic and social ideologies that have created this crisis, whilst also seeking to highlight creative and constructive approaches to the very real existential threats it poses to all life. Following the principles of reproductive justice and decolonial scholarship, we approach intersections between reproduction and the environment through people’s lived experiences and grassroots activism.
The grant will help us bring together a small group of scholars working in this area to develop and refine our ideas and to plan for future projects. Through this grant, we will examine contemporary experiences of, and activism around, reproduction and kinship in relation to the existential threats of environmental crisis, as well as the figure of the child in both individual decision-making and climate activism. The meeting we are planning will also provide an opportunity to workshop a concept put forward by the co-PIs, of the ‘fossil family’, as a means for understanding the ways in which reproduction and kinship have been enrolled in the norms and ideologies of ‘fossil capital’ and its associated injustices. We aim to contribute to scholarship in both reproductive and environmental studies at a critical time, informing both scholarly and public debates about these issues through fresh perspectives that move the conversation on from simplistic arguments about the ‘carbon footprint’ of having children towards examining kinship and reproduction as a site of resistance, social change and reimaginings of the future.