Race, Reproduction, and Biopolitics: A Review Essay

Abstract

This review essay critically examines Catherine Mills’s Biopolitics (2018) and Camisha Russell’s The Assisted Reproduction of Race (2018). Although distinct works, the centrality of race and reproduction provides a point of connection and an opening into reframing contemporary debates within bioethics and biopolitics. In reviewing these books together I hope to show how biopolitical theory and critical philosophy of race can be useful in looking at bioethical problems from a new perspective that open up different kinds of analyses, especially around historically embedded problems like institutional racism and the legacies of colonialism in healthcare.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    These dates mark the period between the English publication of The Will to Knowledge (1977), where Foucault initially discusses biopolitics, and the English publication of Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-76 (2003) where he further elaborates on the role of biopolitics in his thought.

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I receive funding from the Australian Research Council (DE170100550)

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Correspondence to Christopher Mayes.

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Mayes, C. Race, Reproduction, and Biopolitics: A Review Essay. Bioethical Inquiry (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-020-10071-2

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Keywords

  • Biopolitics
  • Race
  • Colonialism
  • Critical bioethics
  • Eugenics
  • Reproduction