Envisioning Science: Imaging the Body

Envisioning Science: Imaging the Body

Visual perception might seem to be a strictly natural process, and yet it has a history. Scholars from a range of disciplines now study visuality, moving beyond biological understandings of vision to examine historically and culturally specific ways of seeing the world. Our goal for the conference is to encourage the investigation of “how we see, how we are able, allowed, or made to see, and how we see this seeing or the unseen therein.”  Visuality emphasizes practices of looking as well as concealing, noting how they are informed by conceptions of gender, status, and power. Diverse research has revealed complex `scopic’ regimes or ways of seeing in ancient, medieval, and early modern times, but many recent publications feature modern visuality and consider the scientific modes of looking produced by microscopy, ultrasound and MRI in particular. Much of this research demonstrates how ways of seeing and the technologies that facilitate them become embedded in cultural life, creating new identities, social institutions, ethical questions, or ways of relating.  Inspired by this research, the conference “Envisioning Science: Imaging the Body,” to be held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton on September 10th and 11th 2010, addresses issues of seeing, looking, and imaging in relation to scientific and medical practices, both past and present.

The keynote speaker will be Lisa Cartwright (University of California-Sand Diego). Professor Cartwright will speak on the evening of Friday September 10th and there will be paper sessions on Saturday September 11th. Other confirmed speakers include Alex Choby (University of Alberta), Lianne McTavish (University of Alberta), Letitia Meynell (Dalhousie),  Cameron Murray (York University), artist Marilene Oliver,  and Steven Turner (University of New Brunswick).  Principal support for the Workshop has been provided by the SSHRC funded `Cluster Grant’ on “Situating Science: Science in Human Context.”

For more information, please contact Alex Choby (choby@ualberta.ca).