SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Imagined Law: The Governance of India's Surrogacy Markets

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran (Kings College London)

Date: 13 October 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 13 October 2016Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: 0

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

India has been the hub of commercial surrogacy for the past decade, fostering an industry that experts claim is worth US $2.4billion. Enabled by a permissive legal framework, entrepreneurial Indian fertility clinics seized the opportunity to cater to the burgeoning demand of commissioning parents from the world over with hundreds of babies being born every year to Indian surrogates. However, in a significant shift in policy the Indian government has recently proposed a ban on all forms of commercial surrogacy leading some to welcome the ban as signalling the end to reproductive trafficking while others have claimed that the proposed law is in fact anti-poor and anti-women. My paper will map the political economy of the surrogacy industry and discuss the feminist normative landscape in relation to this form of transnationalised female reproductive labor before considering ways of furthering reproductive justice in a global economy.

Dr Prabha Kotiswaran is Reader in Law & Social Justice at King's College London; she previously taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. She received her undergraduate law degree in India from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and an LLM and SJD from Harvard Law School. Dr Kotiswaran’s main areas of research include criminal law, transnational criminal law, sociology of law, postcolonial theory and feminist legal theory. Her 2011 book Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (Princeton) won the 2012 SLSA-Hart Prize for Early Career Academics. Dr Kotiswaran has also edited an anthology on Sex Work (for a Series on Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism) and special issues of the Journal of Law and Society and the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly on an economic sociology of law (with Diamond Ashiagbor and Amanda Perry-Kessaris). She is currently engaged in a collaborative project with Janet Halley, Rachel Rebouché and Hila Shamir which critically assesses feminist successes in several arenas of domestic and international law reform. Books resulting from this work include Governance Feminism: An Introduction and a co-edited volume Governance Feminism: A Handbook (forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press). Her edited volume on Revisiting the Law and Governance of Trafficking, Forced Labor and Modern Slavery is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

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