Reflecting on my experience writing my short essay and my project proposal, I have begun to think more seriously about going down the project route instead of the essay route. Thinking back to the discussion Bernhard led during the unconference, it has become clear to me that my area of research is better suited for creating a project because there is a significant lack of credible primary sources. There are a plethora of secondary sources written on the topic, as well as many novels and films which deal with aspects of transnational reproduction, furthermore internet blogs and websites provide an excess of information on the topic. Sifted through with a critical eye, these sources hold lots of valuable and interesting information, but they cannot replace primary sources. In order to understand the local and global effects of transnational surrogacy, researchers must base their assertions off of the accounts from real people who are involved and affected by this process. A project would allow me to outline the secondary source material on transnational surrogacy and demonstrate my awareness of what kinds of primary sources I am looking for without actually having them.
Furthermore, doing a project seems like the best option because hopefully it will award me the opportunity to continue this research into my fourth year in my dissertation. I have found this topic to be fascinating, not only because it is almost unbelievable to me that women’s wombs and the babies they produce have become commodified in the global capitalist system, but also because this phenomenon remains largely unregulated and infants are paying the price. It seems to me that something must be done to rectify this situation urgently, and the first step in that process is making a larger population of academics, policy makers, and citizens aware of this phenomenon. Three months ago if someone asked me what transnational reproduction was, I would have been at a loss for words, but now when I am asked what I am studying in history this year, I catch myself launching into an ethical discussion about the adverse effects of transnational reproduction. My hope is that with this project, in a tiny way, I can encourage a discussion around transnational reproduction that has an emancipatory aim. I have lots to learn on the topic, but I am very excited to continue educating myself so that at the end of this term I will have a project that is both an overview of the existing research on transnational reproduction as well as a starting point for further exploration next year.