Caitlin Stobie’s Abortion Ecologies in Southern African Fiction situates literature front and centre in important debates about reproductive technologies and women’s bodies in southern Africa, and more broadly. The book confronts questions of secrecy and shame around the subject head-on, pointing out in powerful and persuasive ways that southern African fiction was theorizing abortion and agency in openly feminist terms throughout the period of anti-apartheid struggle. In discussions of Wilma Stockenström, Zoë Wicomb, Yvonne Vera and Bessie Head, Stobie argues compellingly that creativity represents a force for social justice.
– Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, UK
Reading Abortion Ecologies in Southern African Fiction in the United States in the days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed American women’s right to abortion as a personal medical decision, is a jarring experience. In this moment, it’s clear that Stobie’s work is prescient and timely in its careful analysis of southern African women’s textual representation of the commodification of women’s reproductive capacity within imperial and patriarchal capitalism. Informed by narratives in which southern African women writers process abortion as both lived choice and national metaphor, Stobie’s analysis unpacks the ways that women’s bodies are always enmeshed in the racist and sexist project of nation building.
– Laura Wright, Professor of English, Western Carolina University, USA