Invisible Waves of Technology: Ultrasound and the Making of Fetal Images [Book Review]

Medicine Studies 2 (3):197-209 (2010)
Since the introduction of ultrasound technology in the 1960s as a tool to visibly articulate the interiors of the pregnant body, feminist scholars across disciplines have provided extensive critique regarding the visual culture of fetal imagery. Central to this discourse is the position that fetal images occupy- as products of a visualizing technology that at once penetrates and severs pregnant and fetal bodies. This visual excision, feminist scholars describe, has led not only to an erasure of the female body from fetal images but also to an erasure of the pregnant body in social, political, and biomedical discourses. Vital to feminist scholarship is, thereby, an engagement with fetal images in ways that reinscribe the pregnant body onto fetal images and into political discourses pertaining to reproductive rights. In this paper, similar to the feminist aim, I am interested in engaging with fetal images as way to gain agency for pregnant women and their bodies. The critical question that I ask is: Can we conceive of medical technology in an embodied way -one that interacts organically, dynamically, and through multisensory dimensions with pregnant bodies? In attempting to answer this question, I turn to Bruno Latour and Gilles Deleuze’s articulations of how bodies and machines interact to produce visual fact
Keywords Fetal images  History of obstetrical ultrasound  Reproduction
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DOI 10.1007/s12376-010-0051-3
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