Freezing the Future: Oocyte Cryopreservation in Northern California

In 2012, the experimental label was lifted from the social freezing and banking of oocytes (oocyte cryopreservation or egg freezing), an intense procedure allowing postponement of motherhood. Two years later, major Silicon Valley based tech companies introduced egg freezing in benefits packages an addition mirroring mounting pressure in tech to hire women and the perception of motherhood as an untimely career interruption. How are women negotiating the vital promise of egg freezing, their sovereignty, the physical complications and social, moral, ethical, and political implications of the procedure? How does this change how they engage materially with their reproductive bodies? In exploring the vastly disquieting, empowering and life-changing implications of fertility preservation, Allyn is doing ethnography of egg freezing, exploring how technology is infiltrating our conceptualization of the self, the body and motherhood.

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Social Science

Shifting Traditions: Perspectives of Saffron Farmers in the Khorasan Province of Iran on Climate Change and Technological Development

Ninety percent of the world’s saffron is grown in Iran and 90% of saffron in Iran is grown in the Khorasan Province. Saffron production as a traditional farming system is developing in its relationship with climate change and with the spread of technology into agriculture. Understanding how farmers view and interact with these developments is important in understanding saffron as a traditional farming system in Iran. Through in-person interviews in Iran and secondary research, Helia will analyze the perspectives of saffron farmers in Khorasan on climate change, what impacts they have observed, how they have adapted to said impacts, and how valuable they believe traditional methods have been in this process. It will also assess farmers perspectives on technology, especially as it compares to the traditional farming system in place.

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Social Science