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The Child to ComeLife After the Human Catastrophe$
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Rebekah Sheldon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780816689873

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816689873.001.0001

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(p.115) 4 Birth
The Child to Come

Rebekah Sheldon

University of Minnesota Press

The fourth chapter asks why the figure of the child continues to circulate at all. What sentiments attaches to the child under conditions of neoliberalism and its regimes of flexible accumulation? Once upon a time, perhaps, the figure of the child served as a link between the domestic interior and the national domestic, therefore centralizing sexuality and reproduction as the basis for economic vitality and designating the vigor of the household as the mechanism by which the nation rises and falls. By analyzing Margaret Atwood’s 1985 The Handmaid’s Tale next to her MaddAddam trilogy, this chapter explores how humanity’s age of “somatic capitalism” (neoliberalism + biopolitics of reproduction) requires the constrained vitality offered by reproduction and its issues.

Keywords:   American literature, Literary criticism, Science fiction criticism, Feminist science studies, Feminist science fiction, Vitalism, Somatic capitalism, Biopolitics, Reproductive futurism

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