Queer(y)ing kinship in an age of assisted reproduction and LGBTQ rights

The African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits Department of Anthropology, GALA and Governing Intimacies invite you to a guest workshop by Ulrika Dahl (Professor of Gender Studies, Uppsala University) on Queer(y)ing kinship in an age of assisted reproduction and LGBTQ rights.

In the context of expanding LGBTQ rights in the global north and elsewhere, and at the intersection of expanding partnership/marriage and family law and a growing range of assisted reproduction technologies, new questions are arising with regards to the classic field of kinship. What does it mean to be related? How does gender relate to parenthood? What does sexuality have to do with reproduction, intimacy and family life? Drawing on the growing field of queer kinship studies, this workshop will revolve around questions of queer/non-heterosexual/same-sex reproduction, family-making, intimacy and kinship in intersectional and critical perspectives. In particular, it will ask how inequalities are reproduced and challenged, what reproductive justice means for differently situated LGBTQ people and how we might study the lived experiences of LGBTQ families, and above all, aim to consider how queer reproduction and kinship challenges how we understand gender, sexuality, race and kinship?

Format and expectations:

The workshop is open to all who are interested in these topics. Workshop leader Ulrika Dahl will offer some introductory remarks on current trends in queer kinship studies in the ”global north” and discuss her own empirical and theoretical work. The main idea of the workshop, however, is to engage in scholarly exchange about issues pertaining to research on questions of gender, sexuality, race, nation and kinship as they relate to the geopolitics of knowledge production and gender and sexual politics. To that end, the workshop will revolve around questions arising from participants’ own interests and ongoing or planned empirical work on topics related to (assisted) reproduction, LGBTQ rights, gender and queer theory, kinship theory and affect theory, etc.

For the purpose of framing introductory remarks, participants are kindly asked to by August 12, please send a short presentation of yourself and your research to ulrika.dahl@gender.uu.se along with any questions you would like to discuss. Participants should also come prepared to engage in the workshop and to briefly present and discuss ongoing or planned empirical work on related topics. Topics may include methodological, theoretical and political aspects of research on queer kinship as well as other questions related to academic work, publishing and funding. Below is a list of readings that relate to the topic and that participants are encouraged to consider. If you do not have access to these readings, please contact Ulrika.


Ulrika’s work:

  • Dahl, Ulrika (2018) ”(The promise of) Monstrous kinship? Queer Reproduction and the Somatechnics of Sexual and Racial Difference” Somatechnics 8.2: 195–211
  • (2018) ‘Becoming fertile in the land of organic milk: Lesbian and queer reproductions of femininity and motherhood in Sweden.’ Sexualities. 21(7): 1021–1038
  • (2014) ’Not Gay as in Happy, but Queer as in Fuck You: Notes on Love and Failure inQueer(ing) kinship’ lambda Nordica nr. 3-4:143-168.

Some readings on queer kinship (many can be found OA on line):

  • Butler, Judith (2002) ”Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?” differences 13.1: 14–44.
  • Freeman, Elizabeth (2007). ”Queer Belongings: Kinship Theory and Queer Theory.” In A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies, edited by George Haggerty and Molly McGarry, 295–314. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Honkasalo, Julian. (2018). ”Unfit for parenthood? compulsory sterilization and transgender reproductive justice in Finland.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, 20(1), 40.
  • Langdridge, Darren (2013) Gay fathers, gay citizenship: on the power of reproductive futurism and assimilation, Citizenship Studies, 17:6-7, 728-741
  • Leibetseder, Doris & Gabriele Griffin (2019): States of reproduction: the coproduction of queer and trans parenthood in three European countries, Journal of Gender Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2019.1636773
  • Mizielinska, Joanna & Agata Stacinska (2018) ”Beyond the Western Gaze: Families of Choice in Poland” Sexualities 21(7):983-100.
  • Moore, Mignon R. (2008) ”Gendered Power Relations among Women: A Study of Household Decision Making in Black, Lesbian Stepfamilies” American Sociological Review, 73(2): 335-356.
  • Nordqvist Petra (2009) ”Feminist heterosexual imaginaries of reproduction: Lesbian conception in feminist studies of reproductive technologies.” Feminist Theory 9(3): 273–292.
  • Riggs, Damien and Elizabeth Peel (2016) Critical Kinship Studies: An introduction to the field. London: Palgrave McMillan.
  • Rubin, Gayle. 1975/1990. ‘The traffic in women: Notes on the political economy of sex’, in Women, Class, and the Feminist Imagination, Karen Hansen and Ilene Philipson, eds. Philadelphia: Temple, p. 74-113.
  • Russell, Camisha (2018) ”Rights-holders or refugees? Do gay men need reproductive justice?” Reproductive Biomedicine & Society online, 7, 131-140.
  • Ryan, Maura & Amanda Moras (2016): Race matters in lesbian donor insemination: whiteness and heteronormativity as co-constituted narratives, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
  • Spillers, Hortense J. 1987. ’Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book’, Diacritics, 17(2): 64-81


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: Friday 16 August 2019

Time: 10.00 -13.00

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