An event organised by Health, Medicine and Agency Research Network
Maud Bracke (University of Glasgow)
8 June 2021
Whose choice? Family planning, reproductive agency, demography and race in 1950s-70s France
The paper analyses debates on family planning, demography, and gender roles to explore the emergence of new notions of the reproductive subject in 1950s-70s France. Drawing on archives of French and international family planning organisations, it is argued that while the dissemination of family planning ideas in France allowed for the discursive construction of an autonomous reproductive subject, such a subject was framed by a hierarchisation according to 'race', culture, and social class. Focusing on family planning interventions in immigrant groups, the paper argues that the 'responsibilisation' of specifically immigrant women in this context involved constructing the 'modern' reproductive subject in a normative way. In a wider perspective, the paper aims to contribute to an understanding of family planning as an impactful transnational movement, embedded in the global Cold War and the globalisation of demographic debate, and shaping sexual change in post-war Europe.
About the Speaker
Maud Bracke is Reader at Glasgow University. She is a historian of 20th-century social, gender and political history of Europe. She has researched West European communism during the Cold War period, specifically the impact of the Czechoslovak crisis of 1968 on the Italian and French communist parties, Italian feminism. She has also led a research project on translating feminism, She is now charting the rise of notions of reproductive rights in post-1945 Europe (West and East) in a global perspective.