Juliane Collard is a Liu Scholar and a PhD candidate in the Geography Department at UBC.
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) signal a change in how life is understood, taken hold of, and governed. Gametes can be extracted from the body and manipulated in vitro; they can be selected for sex or genetic makeup; they can be frozen for long periods or stored as self-replicating cell lines; and they can be circulated between bodies and around the world. Echoing with the anxieties of early- and mid-20th century eugenics, the swift evolution of these technologies is creating a tangle of controversy with momentous public and social implications. My doctoral research intervenes in ongoing debates by focusing on one figure in particular, that of the ‘abnormal’ IVF embryo: from rapidly changing understandings of abnormality and pathology in the face of ART innovation, through to clinical practice and the transaction and circulation of abnormal embryos in extensive research networks. I have oriented myself toward questions of abnormality and pathology to better understand how dominant modes of social ordering are materialized during assisted reproduction. What registers of difference are being expressed as abnormal or pathological? What are the implications? I am carrying out this research as a PhD candidate in the Geography Department at UBC.