The biopolitics of ectogenesis in modern and contemporary anglophone literature

  • Anna Jane Campbell

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


Ectogenesis is a theoretical artificial reproductive technology (ART) that entails gestating a mammalian embryo in an artificial or external womb. The term was coined in 1923 by J. B. S. Haldane, his neologism borrowing from Ancient Greek to mean “outside birth” or “outside origin.” While this technology is currently in development, it is not yet available for human use, so it can only currently be examined as it exists in the human imagination. As such this thesis seeks to investigate literary depictions of ectogenesis and related artificial reproductive technologies and how these depictions envision the biopolitical impact these technologies will have on the future. Examining one hundred years of anglophone literature on the topic – from 1923 until the present – this investigation looks at the different dynamics of power and control that ectogenesis allows over individual human bodies and populations at large, in different imagined versions of the future.
Date of Award11 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorChristina Marie Alt (Supervisor)


  • Ectogenesis
  • Artificial wombs
  • Contemporary literature
  • Modernist literature
  • Utopian studies
  • Foucault
  • Biopower
  • Eugenics

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 19 April 2027

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