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Caring for the Future Webinars

About the Webinar Series

The research project Gendered Island Futures: Generational Perspectives on Motherhood and Social Change in the Faroe Islands, invites you to join our quarterly online seminar series. The seminars are meant as a space for scholars to explore how temporalities intersect with reproduction, gender, parenthood, and care. As such, we wish to examine how we might re-think ideas of creating the future through studies of intimate family lives. 

Anthropologists have expanded our thinking on futures through studies of for instance kinship, family-life, politics, activism, ageing, disability, and digital media. In addition, philosophies of care ethics, decoloniality and environmental humanities push us to consider how our thinking about the future is situated, and how novel futures are created, dismantled, experimented into being and fought for all over the globe. Imagination, hope, desire, and anticipation seem to intermingle with disaster, anxiety, and loss in the ways we think about making human futures. Somewhere in the centre of these discussions sits the biological creation and technological co-creation of life and nurturing of children – though theories also push beyond the human. What might we learn about the making of futures and change from practices and imaginaries of intimate relations in this moment of global upheaval in the politics of kinship, family, and gender? Entering the ‘private’ realm and understanding it as the inside-out of the public, the webinar series explores contributions on how this might inform us on futures and change.   

We invite scholars from different and cross-cutting disciplines, ranging from anthropology, history, political sciences, and STS, to reflect on these themes with us and explore how to approach them theoretically, analytically, and methodologically in novel ways. 

Webinar Structure

The webinar will take the shape as presentations/lectures of 30 minutes by an invited scholar with a following 30 minutes ‘open floor’ for a dynamic group discussion and questions. The event begins at 3PM and end at 4PM (UTC+01:00). 

Caring for the Future Webinar #3: Six Days in Plastic: Potentiality, Normalization, and In Vitro Embryos in the Postgenomic Age 

27th June 2024, 3PM-4PM (UTC+01:00) join via link:  aarhusuniversity.zoom.us/j/67921496085 


Presented by: Dr Tessa Moll, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand 


Postgenomic interest in peri-conception environments and new epigenetic understandings of biological plasticity has placed assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) in an awkward place. For instances, these new knowledges are leveraged in discussions with patients that donor-conceived children are more “theirs” than previously understood; however, the meaning and impact of gestation for kin and connection is conspicuously silent in surrogacy discussions. Furthermore, part of the normalization of ARTs is the premise that the children born from in vitro fertilization (IVF) are no different from their counterparts conceived spontaneously. However, interest in postgenomics has led to some researchers questioning the presumed irrelevance of conception in vitro, and when doing so, describing IVF children as “apparently healthy.”  

Taking “apparently” and “healthy” seriously, I explore how modes of attention—ways of naming and framing embryo potentiality—shape understandings of health and normality. I contend that understanding the politics of potentiality — and how they may emerge in a postgenomic age — requires an unpacking of various modes of attention and framing. Ethnographic findings from South Africa’s fertility clinics and emerging literature on epigenetic variation in IVF conception demonstrate how, under a genetic mode of attention, IVF clinics views “abnormality” as fated, unviable, and discardable. Exploring the possibility of answering the postgenomic questions to IVF reveals structural challenges to knowing long-term health implications. Incipient attempts within the fertility clinic at managing these questions shows various strategic techniques, such as leveraging epigenetics to marketable ends and shifts to individual responsibility. 

Caring for the Future Webinar #2: Technologies of motherhood and care ethics across reproductive binaries in South Africa

25th April 2024 3PM-4PM (UTC+01:00) join via link 


Presented by Nanna Schneidermann, Aarhus University, with Nicole Daniels, Wits University and Percept


How can we conceptualise birthing care ethics across a bifurcated South African health care system? This talk explores what we call technologies of motherhood in the experiences of women in Cape Town using both the public and private healthcare sector. The South African society is grappling with how to provide effective equitable health care to those who give birth to the future population of the country. Maternal health care is about making individual futures but also collective ones - about birthing futures.

The state provides free maternity care in a primary healthcare framework that functions side-by-side with some of the world’s most expensive private healthcare. Our research examines maternal reproductive experiences in both the public sector and the private sector. We argue that maternal reproductive experiences are produced by different sets of discursive, spatial and material caring relations that emerge on either side of a binary maternity system, which are productive of these self-same differences. We trace the performative production of difference with ‘technologies of motherhood’ that endorse and construct mothering-selves as they emerge from the site of their interaction with the maternal healthcare system. However, these technologies are also resisted in day-to-day caring practices, lived lives and research arrangements. Using an ethics of care framework we identify configurations of motherhood that emerge in both reproductive governance and scholarly works, and suggest that attention to technologies of motherhoods across binaries allows for the construction of futures of plural motherhoods.

Caring for the Future Webinar #1  Exploring Intergenerational Relations, Gender, and Futures in the flexible work context 

Helene Pristed Nielsen, Gender Advisor at the Royal Danish Navy Command and Affiliated Associate Professor at the Faculty of History and Social Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands 

29.02.2024 3PM  (UTC+01:00) join via link https://aarhusuniversity.zoom.us/j/65799341463

In this session, Helene Pristed Nielsen is our featured guest speaker. Nielsen is a sociologist and gender researcher and affiliated associate professor at the University of the Faroe Islands. After years in the gender research centre, FREIA, at Aalborg University, she took the step into the Danish Royal Military as a senior researcher. Today she works as an administrator in the Royal Danish Navy.  

Nielsen’s talk will centre on experienced rigid gender roles in the context of flexible work-mobility. With her talk, Nielsen invites us to reflect on how come gender roles are experienced as sturdy and rigid in an ever-changing world, especially when it comes to gender roles in the work context. While, the talk will not depart from a specific article/research publication, you are welcome to read the following article. As such, the talk will more so draw on thematic questions that have emerged in relation to her previous research. 

Nielsen, Helene Pristed No place for their children negotiating gender, place and generation in a flexible work context, Gender, Place & Culture: A journal of feminist geography DOI (link to publication from Publisher): 10.1080/0966369X.2018.1435509