Re-worlding Reproduction: Navigating Emerging Knowledges, Politics, and Justice

The inspiration for our conference title, “Re-worlding Reproduction: Navigating Emerging Knowledge, Politics, and Justice,” springs from the recent essay by Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2023). In his insightful piece, Ndlovu-Gatsheni advocates for a response to the entrenched colonial matrix of power through a process of “re-worlding” from the vantage point of the Global South. This re-worlding involves harnessing the forces of knowledge, power, resistance, and aspirations for freedom.

Our upcoming 2024 conference, “Re-worlding Reproduction,” aims to bridge the realms of reproduction practices and politics with ongoing global dialogues centred around decolonisation. This event serves as an invitation to esteemed scholars specialising in reproduction, hailing from diverse fields such as anthropology, sociology, public health, bioethics, STS (Science and Technology Studies), and studies of race, ethnicity, and gender.

“Re-worlding Reproduction” spotlights the pivotal contributions of scholars from the Global South. Their valuable perspectives challenge the dominant frames of reference surrounding reproduction in social theory. This includes shedding light on scholarly endeavours that disrupt prevailing narratives entrenched in biomedicine, health policy, and broader social discourses.

This conference is thoughtfully organised by two initiatives based in South Africa: “Re-imagining Reproduction” (housed at the University of Pretoria) and “Emerging Assisted Reproductive Markets in Southern Africa” (a collaborative effort involving Wits University, Monash University, and the University of Amsterdam).

The conference’s focal themes encompass:

  • Reproductive Knowledges
  • Rights, Justice, and Ethics
  • Environments of (In)fertility
  • Globalisation, Mobility, and Market Dynamics
  • Intersections of Race, Nation, and Governance
  • Kinship and Care

Our event will be hosted at the distinguished Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria. While the primary mode is an on-site gathering, provisions will be in place to accommodate hybrid presentations, embracing the evolving nature of scholarly discourse and exchange.

16-19 SEPTEMBER 2024


Wisal Ahmed

Dr. Wisal Ahmed

Dr. Wisal Ahmed is a medical professional and public health expert with over two decades of extensive experience in addressing women’s health concerns in resource-limited areas across ten African countries. Alongside her clinical assistant professorship at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, she holds an MPH in Epidemiology and a PhD in Implementation Science from the same institution.

Her expertise ranges from program design, implementation to evaluation including research in diverse health topics. Dr. Ahmed has held leadership positions in international organisations, governmental and non-governmental entities, and academia. Her focus of work for last seven years has been mainly on female genital mutilation (FGM) working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), in strengthening health sector response to address FGM in 15 countries and currently United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Global Coordinator for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, a multi-sectoral program operating in 17 countries.

Angela Akol

Dr. Angela Akol

Angela Akol, MD, PhD, is a resourceful development program leader with 20 years’ experience directing and implementing health and development programs at national and community levels in developing countries.

Dr. Akol’s cross-cutting skills in research, program leadership and management are expertly applied in her role as the Director of Ipas’s Africa Alliance Office, based in Nairobi, Kenya, covering SRHR programs across East Africa and leading policy advocacy across the continent.  She holds a medical degree, and a PhD in Global Health from the University of Bergen.

Dana-Ain Davis

Prof. Dána-Ain Davis

Dána-Ain Davis (Pronounced DONNA EYE-een DAVIS) is Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and on the faculty of the PhD Programs in Anthropology and Critical Psychology.  She is the director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the Graduate Center.

In the last decade, Davis has focused her attention on reproduction, race, and technologies that assist in reproduction. She has written several articles addressing issues of reproduction and racism including, “Obstetric Racism: The Racial Politics of Pregnancy, Labor, and Birthing,” (2019); “Trump, Race, and Reproduction in the Afterlife of Slavery” (2019); “Feminist Politics, Radicalised Imagery, and Social Control: Reproductive Injustice in the Age of Obama” with Beth E. Richie and LaTosha Traylor (2017); “The Bone Collectors” (2016); and, “The Politics of Reproduction: The Troubling Case of Nadya Suleman” (2009). She is the author of Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth (NYU Press 2019). The book received the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology; The Senior Book Prize from the Association of Feminist Anthropology. In addition, Reproductive Injustice was named a Finalist for the 2020 PROSE Award in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology category, given by the Association of American Publisher and received an Honourable mention by The Victor Turner Ethnographic Writing Award Committee of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology.

In Reproductive Injustice, Davis examines medical racism in the lives of professional Black women who have given birth prematurely. The book shows that race confounds the perception that class is the root of adverse birth outcomes and lifts up the role that birth workers—midwives, doulas, and birth advocates—play in addressing Black women’s birth outcomes.

Davis  was nominated and served as the Association of Marquette University Women Chair in Humanistic Studies at Marquette University in Fall 2021. She is recipient of the Brocher Foundation Residency Fellowship in Switzerland. Davis is also doula and co-founded the Art of Childbirth with doula/midwife Nubia Earth-Martin, offering free birth education workshops that incorporate artistic expressions in Yonkers, New York.

Davis has been engaged in social justice, particularly reproductive justice and racial justice for over 30 years.  She has worked with a number of national reproductive justice organisations and initiatives, including; the New York City Department of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Justice initiative, Civil Liberties Public Policy (Amherst, MA); National Institute for Reproductive Health; National Network of Abortion Funds, and most recently served on the New York State Governor’s Task Force on Maternal currently serves as an advisor to Birthing Cultural Rigor, a quality improvement and implementation science firm that formed as a living act of resistance against knowledge production and dissemination that reproduced racist and misogynistic misconceptions about Blackness, Black womanhood, and Black birthing people.

In addition to Reproductive Injustice, she is the author, co-author, or co-editor of four books including: Battered Black Women and Welfare Reform: Between a Rock and Hard Place (2006); Black Genders and Sexualities with Shaka McGlotten (2012); Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism in North America with Christa Craven (2013); Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges and Possibilities with Christa Craven (First Edition 2016; Second Edition 2022).


Reproduction entails practices of life-making and life-sustaining toward imagined future worlds. Reproduction is integral to contemporary politics, involving contestations across the globe about reproductive practices, how to sustain habitable and dignified life, and what the future world should look like. Reproduction is central to social, political, and economic life and central to social analysis and social theory, covering issues as varied as the rights to abortion and contraception, the medicalisation of birth, the rights of queer families, assisted reproductive technologies, race and class in reproductive labour, and the economic and racial stratification of reproductive health.

But which scholars and whose reproductive lives are centred? These questions challenge us to rethink the conceptual toolkit of social theory. From where we are situated in Southern Africa, reproduction often remains overdetermined by powerful and moralising frameworks within biomedicine, global health, development, and climate change. This conference presents an opportunity to reconsider US and Eurocentric hegemony in the production of knowledge within reproductive studies.

This international conference aims to include a multiplicity of reproductive worlds, practices, and futures, alongside a reflexive analysis of the structures and politics that shape reproductive studies itself. The title of the conference takes its name from Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni’s (2023) recent essay, where he points to the reproduction of the “coloniser’s model of the world” through a cognitive empire. We take inspiration from his appeal to “re-world” from the Global South, a process and practice of world-making (worlding) via “knowledge, power, resistance, and dreams of freedom.” We welcome contributions across a range of disciplines in reproductive studies, including anthropology, sociology, public health, science and technology studies, and queer, ethnic, and gender studies. We aim to foreground Global South scholarship, their/our contributions to challenging hegemonic framings of reproduction in social theory, and highlighting work that disrupts powerful narratives in biomedicine, health policy, and social discourse.

We invite submissions in the following formats:

  1. Papers by single or multiple authors. Submissions shall require abstracts of max. 250 words (toward a 15-minute presentation) and indicate which of the questions below the paper addresses.
  2. Closed panels with between 3 and 5 speakers and a discussant. Submissions include a panel theme description of max. 150 words, abstract and speaker details for each presentation in the panel, and details of discussant. Panels shall be about 90 minutes.
  3. Roundtables with 1 discussant and between 2 and 7 presenters. We invite roundtable submissions for scholars, artists, activists, practitioners, or those working in non-governmental organisations, policy, or advocacy. Roundtables do not require formal papers and have conversation and discussion as their aim. Roundtables shall be about 1 hour – 90 minutes. Submissions include title and abstract of max. 250 words and speaker details for all presenters and discussant.

We will be running parallel sessions. Submissions should address one of the following themes:

  • Reproductive knowledges: How are ‘new’ and ‘old’ knowledges of reproduction (re)shaping practices of life-making and life-sustaining? How do we challenge the colonial conceptual apparatus toward more just reproductive futures?
  • Rights, justice, ethics: What are the enduring challenges to movements for reproductive justice and rights? And how are communities, such as LGBTQI+ and queer communities, those with disabilities, marginalised racial and ethnic groups, among others, navigating and envisioning reproductive justice?
  • (In)fertile environments: How are ecological challenges affecting reproduction and reproductive futures? How are people sustaining and remaking social ties, kin, and generations in contexts of changing environments?
  • Globalisation, mobilities, and markets: How are the legacies of colonialism and racial capitalism remade in contemporary reproductive markets? What new forms of reproductive labour are emerging?
  • Race, nation, and governance: How can new knowledges of reproduction in the South challenge oppressive forms of reproductive governance? What are the dominating discourses, in media and otherwise, that shape and/or reflect ideologies of race, nation and family?
  • Kin and care: How are kin and care networks dynamically remade and stretched within precarious contexts? What new forms of kin-making challenge and remake reproductive norms?

Round 2 submissions are due 15 March 2024. Please visit our FAQ page for information, such as scholarships, language of presentation, and on our plans for an Early Career Scholar Workshop. For any further questions, please contact

Abstract Submissions Close In



With the Wenner Gren Foundation’s support, we offer conference bursaries to five scholars from and living in Sub-Saharan Africa and five to scholars from and based at institutions in the Global South other than SSA. Please refer to the OED list here. Applications will be evaluated based on innovation and rigour as reflected in the abstract, financial need and likely value of attending the meeting. A subset of our steering committee will be charged with evaluating bursary applicants. The awards are aimed at PhD candidates and postgraduate fellows, but not exclusively so – Early Career Researchers (within 8 years of completing their PhD) may also apply. Preference will be given to applicants who do not have access to other funds and are from low-income countries and institutions. 

The bursary covers:

  • Conference registration fee
  • Accommodation (4 nights at Future Africa Campus in a twin room)
  • Flights (economy) and shuttle services to and from the airport
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

NB: Bursaries are awarded at the discretion of the steering committee and their decision is final.


  1. Applicants must have an abstract accepted for the Re-worlding Reproduction: Emerging Politics, Knowledge and Justice  Conference.
  2. Applicants must be registered or employed at a university or institute of higher education.
  3. The applicants must ask their supervisor or HOD at their institution to confirm in writing their employment or enrolment, that they would benefit from the conference and do not have any other funding source.
  4. Applicants must provide a 2-page curriculum vitae and a  motivation letter on how attending this international conference will enhance their personal and academic development (max 200 words).
  5. Successful applicants must attend the full four (4) days conference and participate in the social programs.
  6. A 300-word minimum conference report will have to be provided within 2 weeks of the conference to the organisers. The organisers reserve the right to publish this report with photos on their website and all other media outlets.

Kindly submit all your documents before 15 April 2024 to


Early Bird Rates (1 March 2024 - 15 April 2024)

Standard Rates

Professional ZAR4 900
Fully Employed Individuals
Early Career Researchers ZAR3 500
Postdoctoral Fellows, Contracted Individuals, PhDs (who have received their degrees within the last 8yrs)
Students ZAR1 575
Registered PhD Candidates & Master's Students

Africa & Low Income Countries Rates

Professional ZAR2 600
Fully Employed Individuals
Early Career Researchers ZAR1 900
Postdoctoral Fellows, Contracted Individuals, PhDs (who have received their degrees within the last 8yrs)
Students ZAR900
Registered PhD Candidates & Master's Students

Standard Rates (16 April 2024 - 1 July 2024)

Standard Rates

Professional ZAR5 250
Fully Employed Individuals
Early Career Researchers ZAR3 850
Postdoctoral Fellows, Contracted Individuals, PhDs (who have received their degrees within the last 8yrs)
Students ZAR1 750
Registered PhD Candidates & Master's Students

Africa & Low Income Countries Rates

Professional ZAR2 900
Fully Employed Individuals
Early Career Researchers ZAR2 100
Postdoctoral Fellows, Contracted Individuals, PhDs (who have received their degrees within the last 8yrs)
Students ZAR1 000
Registered PhD Candidates & Master's Students


What kinds of presentations are welcome? Is it only academic papers and panels?

Submissions can be in the following forms:

  1. Paper presentations: Single papers by one or more authors. Presentations will be around 15 minutes each. In addition to submitting abstracts (max. 250 words), applicants are asked to indicate in their submission which question(s) their presentation will address. This will facilitate the organisers to arrange submissions into thematic panels.
  2. Closed panel of academic papers: For those wishing to identify their own question, organise a panel of specific interest (for instance, regional), or facilitate coordination in anticipation of a special issue or edited book, please submit a closed panel of academic papers. The submission should include a panel theme description (max. 150 words), in addition to abstract and speaker details for each presentation in the panel, with a max of 5 speakers and minimum of 3 speakers.
  3. Roundtable: We invite roundtable submissions for scholars, artists, activists, practitioners, or those working in non-governmental organisations, policy, or advocacy. Roundtables do not require formal papers and have conversation and discussion as their aim. A roundtable submission requires at least 1 organiser and 2 presenters (max of 7), as well as the title and abstract (up to 250 words) of the roundtable.

Can we present papers in a language other than English?

We can make limited accommodations for non-English participation. The working language for the conference is English, and we don’t have the resources to offer simultaneous translation or translate the conference materials themselves. If you feel comfortable navigating the day-to-day in English, but presenting in another language, then we can make some limited accommodations. This can be in the form of, for example, a closed panel of French speakers, or a paper presentation in Zulu. Within our organising and steering committees, we have capacity to assess a limited number of presentations in French, Portuguese, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Zulu, Shona, and Danish.

If you wish to present or submit a closed panel in a language other than English, please contact the organisers in advance at

Will there be scholarships or bursaries to attend?

We have received funding from Wenner-Gren Foundation to offer financial support (which includes registration fees, flights, ground transportation and accommodation) to 10 scholars. The WG funding is limited to those meeting certain requirements:

  • Those who lack institutional or project funds to support their participation and travel to the conference and who would otherwise be financially precluded from participating.
  • Those whose submission is accepted and will be presenting at a panel or roundtable
  • And those based in the Global South; five of which is specifically earmarked for scholars based in sub-Saharan Africa.

We hope to offer other forms of financial support in the future, but this will be subject to funding availability.

Will there be hybrid participation or opportunities for virtual attendance / presentation?

All the keynote addresses will be recorded and disseminated online. As for attendees, we believe it is important to emphasise in-person engagement considering the aims of our conference. In-person and face-to-face discussion is important to fostering critical dialogues that challenge contemporary paradigms and the politics of knowledge in which we are embedded. Included in this politics is that most international conferences take place in Euro-America, which has often precluded Southern scholars’ participation for both financial and visa-related reasons.
That said, we understand for many reasons (such as financial and visa-related) in-person participation in Pretoria may prove impossible for some. We will make accommodations for some virtual participation, such as presentations on Zoom or recording panels to view online, in limited cases and on an ad-hoc basis. If you are interested in virtual presentation, you may indicate so on your conference abstract submission.

What are the registration costs and when will one need to pay?

Registration will open at early-bird rates on 1 March 2024 and regular registration will open from 15 April. Registration will close 1 July 2024.
We offer tiered rates based on career stage (student, early career, professional) and institutional location (discount for African and Low Income Countries), in addition to discounted early-bird rates.

What is the Early-Career Scholar Workshop?

Our aim is to foster a new generation of scholars, academics, policymakers, and advocates within the field of reproduction. Therefore, before the official start of the conference, we will have a one-day workshop for early-career scholars. The preliminary programme for the workshop includes a roundtable with our keynote speakers on their career trajectories, presentations on academic publication, applied research and non-academic trajectories, and fundraising for research. The workshop shall conclude with the establishment of a mentoring scheme, where early-career scholars shall be paired with an established scholar to provide one-on-one mentoring for a year.


The conference will be held at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa campus. The campus provides a dynamic living, learning and research environment where a community of scholars and other societal role players engage to advance excellence in scholarship, dialogue and impact.


Future Africa offers limited single rooms and twin (shared) rooms on the campus itself.

There is also ample accommodation in the area, and the conference organizers will soon be sharing information on hotels and guesthouses nearby.


About the University
UP was established in 1908 and currently has more than 50 000 students. It has become one of the leading higher education institutions in Africa and the world.

The vision of UP is to be a leading research-intensive university in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally.

In pursuing recognition and excellence in its core functions of research, teaching and learning, as well as integrating engagement with society and communities into these, UP will use quality, relevance, diversity and sustainability as its navigational markers.

Guests typically travel to OR Tambo International Airport, which is located some 55 km (40 minutes’ drive) from Hatfield Campus. 

A complimentary bus service is available for transportation between UP’s campuses.
Hatfield is also home to the Hatfield Gautrain station and the A Re Yeng stop at Loftus Versveld. Please visit the respective websites of these services for schedules and bookings.
Uber services are typically available from your accommodation, but these services are not readily accessible from public train stations.

UP’s campuses offer Wi-Fi to visitors in most open and indoor student communal areas. These areas are indicated by signs. Please refer to


Re-Worlding Reproduction is co-organized by Emerging Assisted Reproductive Markets in Southern Africa (Monash University, University of the Witwatersrand, and University of Amsterdam) and Re-imagining Reproduction (University of Pretoria).

Organizing Committee

Tessa Moll Co-Chair, University of Witwatersrand

Roselyn Kanyemba Co-Chair, University of Pretoria

Charlotte Visagie Coordinator and Conference Administrator, University of Pretoria

Nolwazi Mkhwanazi, University of Pretoria

Andrea Whittaker, Monash University

Lenore Manderson, University of the Witwatersrand

Steering Committee

Mwenza Blell, Newcastle University

Fiona Ross, University of Cape Town

Ziyanda Majombozi, University of Pretoria

Richard Powis, University of South Florida

Nicole Daniels, University of Cape Town and University of the Witwatersrand

Caitlin Gardiner, Kings College London and University of the Witwatersrand

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