In her article “Still Giving Nature a Helping Hand? Surrogacy: A Debate About Technology and Society” (2002), Marilyn Strathern has argued that the interlocking of technological innovations and societal changes is a question our attention is usually only drawn to after this interrelationship has been made visible by the media or other channels of mediation. Which means that at the time of its becoming a public matter of comment and discussion, the actual innovation is already something which happened in the past and we as non-experts are literally not able to “see that prior process of change” independently (ibid: 985). Some of the most prominent examples among a growing number of documentary (as well as feature) films have clearly functioned as a starting and reference point for the debate about the complex issue of assisted reproductive medicine and transnational surrogacy in India. Despite this observation, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the corpus of documentary films that has evolved over the last ten years or so. This talk argues for the need to pay more attention to the specific situatedness of documentary films which not only make us see and learn, but to a large extent also form the basis of our quest for more knowledge and understanding of the transnational entanglements in the field of assisted reproductive technologies.
Nadja-Christina Schneider is Professor in Gender and Media Studies for the South Asian Region at Humboldt University Berlin. She holds a PhD in South Asian Studies and has a background in South Asian Studies, Islamic Studies and Modern History. Her areas of interest include Area Media Studies, Gender and Mobility Studies and Urban Studies. She is currently preparing a book on the visualization of new reproductive technologies and changing family constellations in fictional and documentary films. Her recent publications include a co-edited volume titled “Studying Youth, Media and Gender in Post-Liberalisation India: Focus on and beyond the ‘Delhi Gang Rape’” (2015, with Fritzi-Marie Titzmann) and a co-edited volume titled “New Media Configurations and Socio-Cultural Dynamics in Asia and the Arab World” (2015, with Carola Richter).
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