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Artificial Life: Debating Medical Modernity (April 19-21, UC Riverside)

To debate our medical modernity means to historicize, criticize, and question the comforting narrative of society’s improving health by exploring accounts of marginalized knowledge and criticisms of the modern medical paradigm. We invite questions about the subjects of medical practice as the line between human and nonhuman, even that between organic and inorganic, is being challenged by diverse fields of scholarship. We are especially interested in papers that explore how life is being reimagined and reinvented by practices such as genetic engineering, medical prosthesis, and biochemical interventions into the body. This conference explores what it means to think of medicine and modernity under three rubrics: historical practice, the relationship between varied biomedical and non-biomedical practices, and the role of prosthetics in medicine. Topics may include:

The historical construction of health

The possibilities and limits of prosthetic interventions

The evolving definitions of life

The boundaries between physician/healer and patient

The commercialization of health

“Hacking” the body through various therapies

The role of narrative in medical outcomes

The disciplinary futures of health humanities

Please send 200-word abstracts due by February 9, 2018 to Notifications will be made by March 1, 2018.