This special issue of The Scholar & Feminist Online, edited by Rachel C. Lee, comes to you out of a symposium organized by UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women in May of 2012. Like the symposium, this special issue foregrounds scholarship at the intersections of science and technology studies, feminist and queer studies, and race and postcolonial studies. The authors explore key questions emerging from the intensive biotechnological management of life that marks our age. Exploring the ways in which certain bodies and lands become, as they have for many centuries, the extractable material for scientific “discovery,” the authors make questions of gender, sexuality, and reproduction central to their queries. As Lee asserts in her introduction, one of the key questions posed to the contributors was, “How have nonnormatively gendered bodies, poor women’s bodies, and gestational body parts served as opportune sites and sources for medical experimentation and the speculative contouring of life unlimited?”
By placing Life in front of (Un)Ltd, this special issue’s title lays bare the real and selective sites of living matter that reveal the ill effects of intensive speculation, extraction, and knowledge production by the global corporatized biotech industry and its heady promise of life beyond limits. As part of an ongoing research project based at UCLA’s CSW, this issue puts together scholars from a range of disciplines and fields to map out feminist approaches to science and technology studies that might enrich intellectual, clinical, and artistic practices, as well as deepen interdisciplinary conversations and generate new scholarship.