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Science, Technology, and Medicine Seminar 2021-22 Series

Inside the (Re)Production Boundary: Hormones and Labor Control in Japan

Date/Time: 27/09/2021 09:00-10:30 a.m. (HKT)
Language: English

Delivery: via Zoom
Speaker: Dr. Shoan Yin Cheung (Williams Collage)
Moderator: Dr. Ting, Grace En-Yi (HKU)

This talk critically examines how twenty-first century biomedical practices transform women’s bodies into new zones of production control in “flexible” economies. It argues that in 2010s Japan, reproductive health actors, including medical professionals, pharmaceutical actors, and government officials, began promoting the regulation of young women’s reproductive hormones as a medical component of the Japanese government’s plans to revitalize the nation through the “empowerment” of women. As the government called on women to both boost economic growth by working more and reverse birth rate decline by reproducing, new medical discourses encouraged women to regulate their hormones to be more productive, as well as prevent the development of reproductive illnesses that affect fertility and the reproduction of the nation’s future labor force. Building on feminist theories of social reproduction, this talk demonstrates how hormone regulation, as a technology of health, delivers new forms of value by intervening on the body to redistribute women’s productive and reproductive labor.
Dr. Cheung is an anthropologist of medicine, technology and the body in East Asia. Broadly interested in how the politics of difference structure care in global health, her research brings critical theory and cultural studies of identity to the study of biomedicalization and bodily epistemology. Her projects have explored reproductive health and gendered labor in Japan, the financial dynamics of global health, and the role of historical memory in technology transfer. She is affiliated with the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong and also teaches at Williams College in Massachusetts, USA. She holds a PhD from Cornell University.

Registration Link: HKUEMS :: Event Details

All are welcome. Please register and the Zoom link will be sent to you the day prior to the event. For enquiries, please contact Mr. Adrian Kam by email at adkam@hku.hk or by phone at +852 39172867. To visit CHM website: https://chm.hku.hk/