In this talk, I will discuss the cases of forced sterilization that took place in Peru in the mid-1990s. These were volatile years in Peru. With armed confrontations between the army and rebel forces, inflation rates that skyrocketed, and almost 50 percent of Peruvians living in poverty, President Alberto Fujimori found in old population control an “easy fix” to such a complex scenario. Almost three decades later, survivors continue to experience multiple sequelae from forced sterilization, including loss of strength, alteraciones, and they convey the experience of abuse using animal analogies. These sequelae constitute a constellation of harms that affect individual bodies and radiate into families and communities more broadly. They are also affective knots of shame and nostalgia for a past when the person felt strong and vital. My attunement to peasant women’s grammar of reproductive abuse opened the possibility for thinking about reproductive abuse beyond human rights informed, fertility-centric narratives, dominant in the context of Peruvian electoral politics and feminist activism. I argue that the hierarchy between these different registers shape a dominant understanding of reproductive abuse along repronormative assumptions, or the expectation that women are going to be mothers, displacing other harms, such as loss of strength and alteraciones that are not easily mapped within its boundaries. I explore the possibilities for a decolonial approach to reproductive justice that both understands the role of repronormativity in the sterilization abuses and delinks from it to ponder peasant women’s grammar of reproductive abuse in its own terms.
About the speaker
Julieta Chaparro-Buitrago is an affiliated researcher with the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) and an incoming Wellcome Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her areas of interest include reproductive justice, decolonial feminisms, extractivism, and the environment. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled Decolonizing Reproductive Rights and the Cases of Forced Sterilization in Peru, where she maps different registers of forced sterilization, including peasant women’s grammar of reproductive abuse, urban feminist reproductive activism, and the bureaucratic treatment of these cases in different state institutions. She shows that a hierarchy of discourse between these registers shapes a dominant understanding of reproductive abuse along repronormative assumptions, displacing other harms narrated by survivors, such as loss of strength and alteraciones that are not easily mapped within its boundaries.
The Joint ANSO / IHP Tuesday Seminars is a regular series of discussions co-organized by the International History and Politics and Anthropology and Sociology Departments at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies to discuss a variety of global questions from a multiplicity of historically and ethnographically-informed perspectives.
The Seminars take place every Tuesday from 16:15 to 18:00 in Seminar Room 5 (S5) at the Graduate Institute (Maison de la paix), and are followed by an apero open to the attending public. Connect to this week's seminar online using the event password 37b6gMp34ZA.