CALL FOR PAPERS: HAPSAT 7th Annual Conference

“The Regimen of Bodily Health: Nourishment and Natural Knowledge”
HAPSAT 7th Annual Conference

“The body” as both a material object and metaphor, provides a rich source of inspiration for both philosophical and historical studies of the production and transmission of knowledge. Lawrence and Shapin’s influential anthology, Science Incarnate: Historical Embodiments of Natural Knowledge (1998) broke new ground in this area with discussions of bodies as tools for philosophical inquiry, what it means for knowledge to be “embodied” in physical artifacts, and how bodily self-presentation can generate disembodied knowledge. The body also presents an arena for interplay of ideas about proper management of health and diseases and the application of scientific and medical expertise. Seventeenth century physicians, for instance, recommended a mixture of medicine and dietetics for consumptive patients; proper dietary regimes were often based on theoretical ideas about nourishment and health. Moreover, the body and our ideas of the body have been a political battleground: within the “culture of dissection” and public executions; as displays of ecclesiastical value and status; as technologically manipulable aspects of the self; as and as subjects of experimental philosophy.

On Friday March 18, 2011, HAPSAT, the Graduate Student Society at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto, will host its seventh annual conference, The Regimen of Bodily Health: Nourishment and Natural Knowledge.

This year’s distinguished keynote is Steven Shapin (Dept. Of History of Science, Harvard University): “The Long History of Dietetics: Thinking about Food, Expertise, and the Self.” The keynote is jointly hosted by HAPSAT and the IHPST Colloquium Series.

We invite graduate students and recent graduates working in fields such as HPS, STS, history, sociology, philosophy, public health, anthropology, gender studies, and law, to submit paper and panel proposals that critically engage with this theme. For papers please email abstracts of up to 250 words to HAPSAT@gmail.com by December 1, 2010. For panels, please email a document with a 250 word abstract describing the panel as a whole in addition to individual abstracts for each paper (also 250 words). Each presenter will be given 20 minutes.

We welcome papers addressing, but not limited to, the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between embodied lives and disembodied knowledge?
  • How have health regimes influenced historical or philosophical ideas about the body?
  • Do philosophical ideas about the nature of the self, identity, and human agency affect society’s treatment of bodies?
  • To what extent have technologies of the body influenced science in practice (e.g. technologies of blood transfusion)?
  • How are food, bodies, and personal and institutional authority related within the modern medical establishment?
  • What is the relationship between personal appearance and epistemic authority?
  • How have ideas about the degenerate body (e.g. monsters, deformity, disease) been shaped by cultural or social beliefs?
  • How do different modes of food production and consumption affect the political relationships between bodies?
  • What sorts of new political relationships, and political philosophies, are likely to arise if technological advancement makes the transhumanist dream a reality?

We hope to be able to offer billeting and small travel subsides for graduate students travelling to Toronto for the conference.

For more information, visit the conference website (to be updated shortly). The pdf poster is also available.

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