The reproductive politics of a settler colonial project: Bayan Abusneineh, Chosen and Imagined: Racial and Gendered Politics of Reproduction in Palestine and Israel, PhD dissertation, UC San Diego, 2022


Abstract: Chosen and Imagined: Racial and Gendered Politics of Reproduction in Palestine and Israel, traces how Israel manages, subjugates, and seeks to erase populations deemed threatening to the modern nation-state and its pursuit of homogeneity through racial and reproductive violence. This project aims to unravel Israel’s pronatalist fertility regime as co-produced simultaneously by ongoing histories of Zionist settler colonialism, Islamophobia/ Orientalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-blackness. Employing an interdisciplinary and transnational methodology, Chosen and Imagined combines archival research, oral history, testimonials, film and media analysis, to reveal the state’s efforts to deploy reproduction as a path to become part of the civilized, modern, and “superior” West. Through an analysis of a state sponsored child kidnapping and adoption campaign, forced sterilization, family separation and anti-miscegenation laws, and deployment of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs), I examine how discourses around reproduction are couched within eugenics. By critically engaging with critical race and settler colonial studies, Palestine studies, and reproductive histories, my project complicates traditional discourses of Israeli settler colonialism, which typically configure a relationship between the Native (Palestinian) versus the Settler (Israeli), by highlighting nuances within the figure of the settler/Israeli. For instance, I trace how Israel’s reproductive management of Black and Arab populations aids in the formation of a new European/Ashkenazi Israeli identity, the idealized subject who must be protected against abject, racialized populations.

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