Vera Mackie - Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor of Asian Studies, Institute for Social Transformation Research, University of Wollongong
Since the late twentieth century, assisted reproductive technologies have brought new challenges to our understanding of the family and gender relations. There are ever-widening gaps between medical practice, legal regulation and everyday understandings and practices. Some recent popular cultural texts in Japan have explored the issues raised by non-commercial surrogate motherhood. The background to these texts is a series of controversies concerning surrogacy and the use of assisted reproductive technologies and wider societal anxieties about family, reproduction and population management. In this paper, I will focus on some recent popular cultural texts which deal with these issues. I will place these texts in their social and cultural context with reference to medical, legal and popular discourses on new reproductive technologies in contemporary Japan. These new reproductive technologies have the potential to force a rethinking of masculinity, femininity, parenthood, family and gender relations. Popular texts also, however, draw on pre-existing ways of thinking about gender, reproduction and the relationship between science, ‘nature’ and society.
Vera Mackie is Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor of Asian Studies in the Institute for Social Transformation Research at the University of Wollongong, where she is researching human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. Publications include Feminism in Modern Japan: Citizenship, Embodiment and Sexuality, Cambridge 2003; Gurôbaruka to Jendâ Hyôshô [Globalisation and Representations of Gender], Ochanomizu Shobô, 2003; Creating Socialist Women in Japan: Gender, Labour and Activism, 1900–1937, Cambridge 1997; Human Rights and Gender Politics: Asia–Pacific Perspectives, Routledge, 2000 (co-edited with A. Hilsdon, M. Macintyre and M. Stivens) and co-edited special issues of journals including Asian Studies Review (‘Human Rights in Asia’, 2013; ‘Globalisation and Body Politics’, 2010); Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific (‘Performing Globalisation’, 2010;‘Gender, Governance and Security in Australia, Asia and the Pacific’, 2007); Japanese Studies (‘The Cultural Politics of the City in Modern Japan’, 2011); and Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies (‘The Space Between: Languages, Translations, Cultures’, 2009).