Precarious Labourers of Love: Queer Kinship, Reproductive Labour and Biopolitics

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Precarious Labourers of Love: Queer Kinship, Reproductive Labour and Biopolitics by Ulrika Dahl (Professor of Gender Studies, Uppsala University).

This seminar explores how different forms of reproductive labour create different precarities within LGBTQ parenting and kin-making in contemporary Sweden. It especially considers the precarisation of biological labour in a setting where intimate labour is the foundation for kin-making and where the necessary making, gestating and breastfeeding of a child is downplayed in relation to parenthood status. Drawing on ethnographic research, the seminar also illuminates how ‘biology’ produces strong feelings, even in a queer kinship structure that departs from the notion of intent and intimate labour as equally shared matters. Framing queer reproduction as both a biopolitical question and a question of gender labour the seminar then discusses how gendered and racialised ideas of parenthood and kinship are reproduced and reworked in imaginaries of LGBTQ parenthood. Contributing to critical whiteness studies, it argues that the (queer) nation is repeatedly recreated as white while whiteness remains invisible to those who inhabit it.


Ulrika Dahl is a cultural anthropologist and professor of gender studies at the Centre for gender research, Uppsala University in Sweden and a leading queer feminist voice in the Nordic region. Her research interests include postcolonial european ethnography, feminist and queer politics, critical femininity studies, affect theory, queer kinship and reproduction, and decolonial perspectives on knowledge production and her work draws on intersectional, postcolonial and critical race feminisms, feminist science studies and critical whiteness studies. Among Ulrika’s publications in English are the books Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities (with Del LaGrace Volcano, 2008) and The Geopolitics of Nordic and Russian Gender research 1975-2005 (with Ulla Manns and Marianne Liljeström, 2016) and articles in Feminist theory, Sexualities, New Formations, Paragraph, Somatechnics and European Journal of Women’s Studies among other journals. Currently, she is working on an ethnographic book project on queer family making and the politics of gender, race and nation in Sweden. She is also editor of lambda nordica-Nordic journal of LGBTQ studies, associate editor of European Journal of Women’s Studies and runs the interdisciplinary network ’Nature as culture: The (re)production of common sense’ at Uppsala University. With a passion for creative writing, Ulrika also writes regularly for broader audiences and for queer and feminist press and she regularly collaborates with cultural producers and organises antiracist and queer feminist events in Stockholm.

Date: Tuesday 13 August 2019

Time: 12.45 -13.45

Venue: ACMS Seminar Room 2163, South East Wing, Second Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, University of the Witwatersrand East Campus