skip to content

Changing (In)Fertilities



My work builds on interdisciplinary fields such as fertility studies, decolonial feminisms, reproductive justice, and Latin American studies. My research probes long-standing colonial structures, whether through fertility control or exposure to contaminants, that shape indigenous and peasant women's reproductive lives. At the same time, I am interested in exploring what happens when we look at reproduction through the lenses of decolonial feminisms, what other stories about reproduction can be told. I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My dissertation titled The Promise of Empowerment: Reproductive Justice and the Cases of Forced Sterilizations in Peru. The research looks at the aftermath of the sterilization abuses that took place between 1995 and 2001 during the implementation of the Reproductive Health and Family Planning (RHFPP) Program. I analyze the dissonances emerging from the efforts of visibility and justice by the victims, feminist activists, and the Peruvian state.

Abusive sterilizations were implemented amid economic collapse and a post-war context, targeting primarily indigenous and peasant women. Reproductive justice has brought to the fore the racialization and stratification of reproduction and the need to move beyond the focus on abortion rights; however, it has said less about the limitations of the rights discourse for understanding reproductive violence. Reproductive rights provide the language to feminist, human rights, and grassroots women's organizations to make these cases legible as a form of reproductive abuse and loss of fertility as the main harm. Decolonial feminisms inform my critique as a form of epistemological delinking from claims to privacy and individual bodily autonomy. I show that indigenous/peasant women narrate their experience of reproductive violence through Andean medical principles of debility and strength, which shape how they experience the procedure and make sense of it in their narratives. The emphasis of reproductive rights on fertility, contraception, and bodily autonomy creates a form of incommensurability with the legal apparatus that displace debility and strength as excess.

My second research project expands notions of reproductive justice and fertility by looking at water politics and environmental degradation caused by extractivist industries in Peru. I got interested in this project when I was conducting fieldwork for my dissertation research in the Northeastern department of Cajamarca. In everyday conversations, people mobilized a constellation of humans, animals, water, and minerals when talking about the impacts of extractivism on food production and raising children and animals. I will explore the meanings surrounding water and how people understand these different actors' entanglements for thinking about the reproduction of life. This project will open up a discussion in reproductive justice away from the anthropocentric focus of raising children in healthy environments by exploring preoccupations around land, animal, and human fertility.

ReproSoc, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge
Work Package 3: Extractive (In)Fertilities
Not available for consultancy