Wayward Reproductions breaks apart and transfigures prevailing understandings of the interconnection among ideologies of racism, nationalism, and imperialism. Alys Eve Weinbaum demonstrates how these ideologies were founded in large part on what she calls "the racereproduction bind"the notion that race is something that is biologically reproduced. In revealing the centrality of ideas about womens reproductive capacity to modernitys intellectual foundations, Weinbaum highlights the role that these ideas have played in naturalizing oppression.
She argues that attention to how the racereproduction bind is perpetuated across national and disciplinary boundaries is a necessary part of efforts to combat racism. Gracefully traversing a wide range of discoursesincluding literature, evolutionary theory, early anthropology, Marxism, feminism, and psychoanalysisWeinbaum traces a genealogy of the racereproduction bind within key intellectual formations of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She examines two major theorists of genealogical thinkingFriedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucaultand unearths the unacknowledged ways their formulations link race and reproduction.
She explores notions of kinship and the replication of racial difference that run through Charlotte Perkins Gilmans work; Marxist thinking based on Friedrich Engels The Origin of the Family; Charles Darwins theory of sexual selection; and Sigmund Freuds early studies on hysteria. She also describes W. E.
B. Du Boiss efforts to transcend ideas about the reproduction of race that underwrite citizenship and belonging within the United States. In a coda, Weinbaum brings the foregoing analysis to bear on recent genomic and biotechnological innovations.