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The Feminist Political Geographies of Sexual & Reproductive Control & Justice in ‘Punjabi Canada’

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13:30, Wednesday 10 May 2023 EDT (30 minutes)

This paper emerges from my work as a community mobilizer, reproductive justice advocate, creative educator, and early-career researcher who also identifies as a South Asian/Punjabi woman. It offers preliminary insights from my ongoing doctoral work that seeks to explore and unpack the feminist political geographies of sexual and reproductive control and justice in ‘Punjabi Canada’. In this paper, I introduce my early conceptualization of institutional sexual & reproductive control as a bordering practice and present some initial interpretations of what constitutes i) everyday regulation of sex and reproduction and ii) everyday examples of sexual and reproductive agency and justice in ‘Punjabi Canada.’ This project has been informed by an intersectional and transnational feminist praxis and engages with creative and affective qualitative methods such as creative writing and body mapping techniques as well as ethnographic fieldwork in Brampton, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia.

In this paper, I engage with approaches to genderscapes of hate (Datta 2016), intimate geopolitics (Smith 2020), feminist political ecologies of reproductive justice, commons, and commoning (Bauhardt and Harcourt 2019, Sasser 2018, Ross 2017, Singh 2013), and resistances and refusals (Datta 2021; Walia 2014) by beginning to unpack Punjabi women’s sexual and reproductive subjectivities across (sub)urban landscapes and starting to examine the materiality of reproductive justice work in ‘Punjabi Canada’. The work of feminist geographers Katharine McKittrick and Richa Nagar also shape my theoretical and methodological commitments to giving voice to alternative biopolitical imaginaries of sexual & reproductive struggle, freedom, and life-making – particularly around creative storytelling as liberation work and around the entanglements of “identities-places-embodiments-infrastructures-narratives-feeling” that make up the liberatory struggle (McKittrick 2021, 30).

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