Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Infertilities

Exploring Fictions of Barren Bodies

2000
Author:

Robin Truth Goodman

Infertilities

An original analysis of the role of female reproduction in the project of empire.

In today’s global market, ideas about family, femininity, and reproduction are traded on as actively as any currency or stock. The connection has a history, one rooted in a conception of feminine identities invented through a science interwoven with the pursuit of empire, the accumulation of goods, and the furtherance of power. It is this history that Robin Truth Goodman exposes in her provocative analysis of literary and political representations of female infertility from the mid-nineteenth century to our day.

A cutting-edge incursion into the territory of cultural/literary studies. Robin Goodman presents a theoretical panorama of the interface among ‘native’ femaleness, ‘imported’ civilization, and ‘local’ barbarity and brilliantly connects with the prejudiced European racial perception of the Other as a cultural obstacle to progress.

José Piedra, Associate Professor of Spanish Literature at Cornell University.

In today’s global market, ideas about family, femininity, and reproduction are traded on as actively as any currency or stock. The connection has a history, one rooted in a conception of feminine identities invented through a science interwoven with the pursuit of empire, the accumulation of goods, and the furtherance of power. It is this history that Robin Truth Goodman exposes in her provocative analysis of literary and political representations of female infertility from the mid-nineteenth century to our day.

Goodman takes Darwin’s studies on sterility between species as her starting point, exploring evolutionary science as the intersection of a colonial worldview based on class struggle and the pathologizing of female identities that fall outside reproductive normalcy. She then examines how Joseph Conrad constructs a vision of feminism as a product of miscegenation, how Alejo Carpentier and Mario Vargas Llosa deploy female figures of miscegenation to recast Latin American literature as "difference," and how ecological devastation in the Brazilian Amazon is envisioned through failures in Indian marriage. Locating points of conjunction between queer, feminist, and postcolonial theories, Infertilities points to the role of lesbian representation and reproductive politics in ongoing critiques of globalism.

Infertilities

Robin Truth Goodman is an independent scholar who lives in New York City.

Infertilities

A cutting-edge incursion into the territory of cultural/literary studies. Robin Goodman presents a theoretical panorama of the interface among ‘native’ femaleness, ‘imported’ civilization, and ‘local’ barbarity and brilliantly connects with the prejudiced European racial perception of the Other as a cultural obstacle to progress.

José Piedra, Associate Professor of Spanish Literature at Cornell University.

Infertilities

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction

Darwin's Dating Game
Conrad's Closet
Carpentier's Marvelous Conception
Mario Vargas Llosa and the Rape of Sebastiana
The Rainforest Rape

Conclusion
Notes
Works Cited

Index