Thinking Through the Crises: 8 March Women’s Strike

During this panel discussion at the University of Amsterdam, Dr. Maud Bracke, Dr. Ladan Rahbari, Dr. Sarah Bracke and Dr. Siggie Vertommen discussed the past, present and future of the Women’s Strike. What is the international movement called the Women’s Strike? How does it speak to questions of work and care, and violence against women (#NiUnaMenos​)? What can the Women’s Strike look like at the university? How could we imagine the Women’s Strike at the University of Amsterdam?

Marx In Utero: A workers’ inquiry of the in/visible labours of reproduction in the surrogacy industry

What can the work of Marx can tell us about surrogacy, and vice versa, what can the work of surrogacy tell us about Marx? Siggie’s research on commercial surrogacy in Georgia offers an interesting case study to re-assess the relevance of Marxist research frameworks, as it uncomfortably disrupts capitalist dualisms of production vs reproduction, family vs market, gift vs commodity and waged vs unwaged work. In this chapter, part of an edited volume ‘Marx in the Field’ by Alessandra Mezzadri, Siggie uses the work of Marx, and his disobedient feminist ‘granddaughters’ to analyse and politically translate the invisibility of reproductive work in the global surrogacy industry.

Vertommen, Sigrid. 2021. “Marx In Utero: A workers’ inquiry of the in/visible labours of reproduction in the surrogacy industry”. In: Mezzadri, Alessandra (ed.) Marx in the Field. Anthem Press.

In/Visible Wombs of the Market: the dialectics of waged and unwaged reproductive labour in the global surrogacy industry

In this paper, Siggie Vertommen and Camille Barbagallo grapple with the stubborn question of why women in capitalist societies are expected to perform the reproductive work of gestation and birthing either as unwaged mothers or as badly paid surrogates. Rather than tackling surrogacy in moralising terms of ‘altruistic’ gift-giving versus ‘greedy’ money-making, this paper, published in Review of International Political Economy as part of a special issue on Contemporary Feminist Political Economies of Work (edited by Alessandra Mezzadri, Sara Stevano and Susan Newman), proposes an integrative reproductive labour perspective that looks at the dialectics of waged and unwaged work involved in the process of (re)producing people.

Sigrid Vertommen & Camille Barbagallo (2021): The in/visible wombs of the market: the dialectics of waged and unwaged reproductive labour in the global surrogacy industry, Review of International Political Economy, DOI: 10.1080/09692290.2020.1866642

Global Fertility Chains: An integrative political economy approach to understanding the reproductive bioeconomy

In this paper, published in Science, Technology and Human Values, Siggie Vertommen, Vincenzo Pavone and Michal Nahman develop an integrative political economy approach to understanding the reproductive bio-economy, structured around the concept of global fertility chains. this unified approach scrutinizes the coproduction of value, biology, and technoscience and their governance mechanisms in the accumulation of capital by taking into account (1) the unevenly developed geographies of global fertility chains, (2) their reliance on women’s waged and unwaged reproductive labor, and (3) the networked role of multiple actors at multiple scales without losing sight of the (4) constitutive role of (supra)national states in creating demand, organizing supply, and accommodating the distribution of surplus value.

Vertommen S, Pavone V, Nahman M. Global Fertility Chains: An Integrative Political Economy Approach to Understanding the Reproductive Bioeconomy. Science, Technology, & Human Values. March 2021. doi:10.1177/0162243921996460

Joyful Militancy: workshop excerpt of collective reading and talk by Silvia Federici on feminist politics

In this excerpt of a zoom workshop on ‘Re-Imagining the World with Silvia Federici’, organized by Ghent University and Kunsthal Gent on 28 October, we collectively read the chapter on Joyful Militancy with the workshop participants, and Silvia speaks on feminist politics 

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Joyful Militancy, workshop edit by Aïlien Reyns

Joyful Militancy is an audiovisual report made by the Belgian artist Aïlien Reyns of a 6 hour long zoom workshop with Silvia Federici and 3o activists/academics and artists, organised by Ghent University and Kunsthal Gent on 29 October 2020. The workshop revolved around ‘re-imagining and rebuilding infrastructures of social reproduction’, and the joyfully militant practice of Silvia Federici, who is renowned for her research and activism at the intersection of women’s, anti-capitalist, and anti-colonial struggles.

Silvia Federici joined us online for the full 6 hours of the workshop. Through objects related to the home, a shared reading session, a digital dinner during which (food) stories were shared, an extensive contribution by Silvia Federici and discussions in small groups, the aim was to start building a toolkit for social reproduction; that could help us to respond to the urgent questions of this moment of global crisis and opportunities for a new common living environment.

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WTF is reproductieve arbeid?

In dit essay keert Siggie Vertommen terug naar de ideeën van marxistische feministen uit de jaren zeventig om de dialectiek van reproductieve arbeid onder het hedendaagse kapitalisme te begrijpen en te bevragen, op het kruispunt van gender, klasse en kleur. De belangrijkste conclusie is dat sociale reproductie niet alleen een sfeer van uitbuiting, vervreemding, isolement en onderdrukking is, maar evenzeer een sfeer van verzet, protest, revolutie en emancipatie kan zijn.