Visiting Scholar, Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies
Dr. Sophie Lewis is a visiting scholar at The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women at the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of the teaching faculty of the Philadelphia branch of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. She is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family(Verso Books, 2019), which Donna Haraway hailed as "the seriously radical cry for full gestational justice that I long for." Sophie's scholarship operates in the spheres of trans feminist cultural criticism and queer social reproduction theory, notably around utopian critiques of the family, Marxism, and Black and abolitionist feminisms. Her research currently focuses on the etiologies of eugenic, bioconservative and imperial feminisms, including narratives of so-called white slavery past and present, femonationalism, and trans-exclusionary femocratism. A graduate of the University of Oxford (BA English Literature; MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Policy) and the New School for Social Research (MA Politics), Sophie earned her PhD in human geography in 2016, at the University of Manchester. The dissertation, entitled "Cyborg Labor: Exploring Surrogacy as Gestational Labor" was situated within the utopian "anti-work" tradition while engaging historical-materialist and critical geographies concerned with the production of nature; it sought, by reframing the semiotic and political economy of the contract pregnancy industry, to make a major intervention into contemporary social reproduction studies. It was supervised by Professors Noel Castree and Erik Swyngedouw and examined by Professors Maria Kaika and Cindi Katz. Since 2014, academic publications by Dr. Lewis have appeared in journals such as Feminist Review, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Frontiers: Journal of Women's Studies, Gender Place & Culture, Antipode, Feminism & Psychology, Science as Culture, Society & Space and Dialogues in Human Geography (her paper ‘Cyborg Uterine Geography’ acts as the anchor for a response forum in the latter publication). Her non-academic writing, including an op-ed on “How British Feminism Became Anti-Trans” (The New York Times, 2019), has appeared in numerous venues including Boston Review, The Nation, Dissent, Logic, Mute, Mal, Tank, e-flux, The New Inquiry, Jacobin, Red Pepper, The New Socialist, Salvage Quarterly, Commune, Viewpoint, and of course her personal Patreon. Sophie’s German-English translations for MIT Press include A Brief History of Feminism (Antje Schrupp) and Communism for Kids (Bini Adamczak). Her translation of Sabine Hark and Paula-Irene Villa’s account of femo-nationalist Islamophobia in Germany, The Future of Difference, is published by Verso Books (June 2020). She is a member of the ecological writing collective Out of the Woods, whose edited collection Hope Against Hope: Writings on Ecological Crisis is published by Common Notions (June 2020). Finally, she is an editor at the feminist film criticism platform Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry, whose collection End/And: Feminization in Unending Times came out in 2017. You can follow her on Twitter at @reproutopia.