Philosophy of Birth: Rethinking the Origin from Medical Humanities

May 27, 2019 - May 28, 2019
History and Philosophy, University of Alcalá, Madrid

Sala de Conferencias Internacionales, Colegio de S. Ildefonso, University of Alcalá
Calle Colegios 2
Alcalá de Henares 28801

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • University of Oxford

Selected speakers:

University of Southampton
Australian Catholic University
University of Southampton



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Our conceptions of birth reflect and influence our view of the world and of human beings. This conference addresses some of the assumptions that are embedded, often unrecognised, in current cultural practices around childbirth. Our guiding questions and the resulting arguments engage current debates around childbirth and beyond. Rethinking our origin is our way of constructing a genealogy, a ‘logos of the genos’ in a literal sense.

Research in the Philosophy of Birth is closely linked to innovation and knowledge exchange and touches critical topics as surrogacy, consent, medical treatments or autonomy.

Monday 27th May

9.00 – 9.45 Welcome and Work Meeting Session PHILBIRTH Research and Collaborating Teams

9.45 – 10.00 Opening

10.00 – 10.45 Analysis of Conceptual and Framework Premises

A Reconstruction of the Logos on Genos. Stella Villarmea (University of Alcalá / University of Oxford)

10.45 – 11.15 Cofee Break

11.15 – 12.00 Analysis of Conceptual and Gender Premises

Conceptual Shortcomings of the Neoliberal Defence of Surrogate Motherhood’: Norms, Freedom, Desire, Rights Ángeles J. Perona (Complutense University of Madrid)

12.00 – 12.45 Analysis of Metaphysical Premises

The Metaphysics of Birth Elselijn Kingma (University of Southampton)

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch

14.30 – 15.15 Analysis of Phaenomenological Premises

The Promise of Natality Christina Schües (Universität zu Lübeck)

15.15 – 16.00 Analysis of Existentialist Premises

‘…But her Body is Other than Herself’: Towards a Beauvoirian Understanding of Obstetric Violence Sara Cohen (University of Haifa)

16.00 – 16.30 Cofee Break

16.30 – 17.15 Analysis of Socio-Political Premises Who is a Mother? Maternal Identity and the Imaginary Sarah LaChance Adams (University of Wisconsin Superior) & Caroline Lundquist (University of Monash)

17.15 – 18.00 Collaborative Reflection and Outline of Argument

18.45 – 19.45 Walking Tour of University of Alcalá & UNESCO Sites

20.00 – 21.30 Dinner at a Traditional Restaurant

Tuesday 28th May

9.00 – 10.00 Ideas and Discussion on Collective Publication PHILBIRTH Research and Collaborating Teams

10.00 – 10.45 Analysis of Medical and Psychological premises

The Impact of Surrogacy on Mental Health: A Review of the Consequences from an Ecosystemic Approach Ibone Olza (University of Alcalá)

10.45 – 11.00 Cofee Break

11.00 – 11.45 Analysis of Historical Premises

Metaphors for Gestation / Gestation as Metaphor in Ancient Greece and Rome. Dawn LaValle (University of Melbourne)

11.45 – 12.30 Analysis of Historical Premises

From ‘Compulsory Maternity Insurance” to “Compulsory Sickness Insurance”: one step toward the medicalization of childbirth in Spain (1931-1963) Dolores Ruiz Berdún (University of Alcalá)

12.30 – 12.45 Analysis of Anthropological Premises

Unveiling Technocracy´s Ways of “Dressing-up-in Humanism” in Institutional Birth Michelle Sadler (University Adolfo Ibáñez Chile)

13.00 – 15.00 Lunch

15.15 – 15.45 Analysis of Ethical Premises Bottles, Breasts and Birthing Pools: Common Problems in Our Discourse on Birth ‘Choices’ and Infant-Feeding Decisions Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton)

15.45 – 16.30 Analysis of Ethical Premises

Caring for Delivery: Professionals’ Ethical Conflicts on Surrogacy Rosana Triviño (University of Alcalá)

16.30 – 17.00 Cofee Break

17.00 – 17.45 Collaborative Reflection and Outline of Argument

17.45 – 18.30 Way Forward Meeting and Conference Close

18.30 – 19.00 Administration PHILBIRTH Research and Collaborating Teams

19.00 – 20.00 Break

20.00 – 21.30 Dinner at a Traditional Restaurant in Alcalá


Research Project Philosophy of Birth: Rethinking the Origin from Medical Humanities(PHILBIRTH), University of Alcalá, AEI/FEDER/UE, 2016-19 (FFI2016-77755-R)

Research Project Controversies in Childbirth: from Epistemology to Practices (VOICEs), University of Oxford, ERC-H2020-MSCA-IF-2017 (SEP-210456162)

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May 26, 2019, 9:00am CET

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