Maternity and Natality on a Hurting Planet
This chapter takes up the ecological debate over maternity in the Anthropocene, a time in which prominent feminists like Donna Haraway are advocating against reproduction and natality. In focusing on population figures, Haraway and others have (re)ignited a debate about whether such concerns can ever be separated from the history of racist reproductive governance. The author focuses on feminist debates over maternity itself—as practice and ethics—and reasserts maternity and natality as important critical resources for living in the Anthropocene. What might we gain if we could approach the problem of reproduction without renouncing natality? Thinking with maternity and natality presents just as many risks as thinking with population, given the common tendency to essentialize women-as-mothers and to romanticize maternity to the detriment of women. The author turns to Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, who proposes maternal inclination as a founding moment for a postural ethics. The chapter proceeds through a familiar maternal genre, offering a collection of birth stories that begin to weave Cavarero’s inclination into Haraway’s non-natalism. The author concludes by arguing that maternal inclination is an important conduit for achieving multispecies reproductive justice.
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