Pyrocene Babies: Pregnancy, birth and parenting newborns during the Australian bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic

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Professor Celia Roberts headshot You are invited to an ARCSHS Research and Practice Seminar by Professor Celia Roberts.

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Wednesday 21 July 2021 04:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Dr Renae Fomiatti
Presented by:
Professor Celia Roberts
Type of Event:
Public Lecture; Public

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This seminar reports on a qualitative study of pregnancy, birth and parenting newborns during the 2019-20 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic that I am currently undertaking with sociologists Mary Lou Rasmussen, Louisa Allen and Rebecca Williamson in collaboration with medical and scientific colleagues at the ANU. Our study explores what it means to have a child during such calamitous times. Focussing on the Australian Capital Territory and the NSW South East coast, the research collects stories of pregnant women’s and parents' experiences of exposure to smoke and fire risk, and the COVID-19 pandemic and documents the multiple practices they engaged in to avoid or minimise harmful exposures. In this paper I will present some preliminary data - textual and visual - to open up conceptual questions about the Pyrocene (Stephen Pyne’s name for our current epoch) and to explore the feminist and queer politics of reproduction in climate crisis. I will introduce feminist technoscience scholar Michelle Murphy’s term ‘alterlife’ as a useful tool to start to answer these questions.

About Professor Celia Roberts

Celia Roberts is Professor in the School of Sociology and member of the Gender Institute, ANU. She is the author of Puberty in Crisis : The sociology of early development. (Cambridge UP, 2016) and co-author, with Adrian Mackenzie and Maggie Mort, of Living Data: Making sense of health biosensing (Bristol UP, 2019). She is currently writing a book with Mary Lou Rasmussen, Louisa Allen and Rebecca Williamson on reproduction in climate crisis.

Online - Zoom Webinar

La Trobe University



21st Oct 2021 8:52pm

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