In feminist politics, reproduction generally connotes two intimately related concepts. First is biological reproduction: relating to human bodies’ capacities to menstruate, produce sperm or ova, and gestate. The second meaning is social reproduction: how we care for and maintain the bodies, minds, and capacities of ourselves and others. Colonial and imperial societies have instrumentalized reproduction in both social and biological forms to concretize racial, gender, and sexual orders that divide humans into those elevated and ideal citizens for whom reproduction is valued or encouraged and those for whom reproduction is understood as undesirable or threatening to social order, such as immigrants or people in the Global South. One useful way to think about reproduction is as stratified, a term sociologist Shellee Colen coined to show how the mundane and intimate acts of both social and biological reproduction differ “according to inequalities that are based on hierarchies of class, race, ethnicity, gender, place in a global economy, and migration status” ([1995] 2006, 380).

This essay may be found on page 189 of the printed volume.

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