Distraction Free Reading

Call for STM/CASTAC Panel Collaboration

The Science, Technology & Medicine special interest group on the Society for Medical Anthropology is interested in collaborating with CASTAC to put together a double panel for the 2013 AAA meeting in Chicago. We will be putting out a call for abstracts for the panel in a few weeks. In the meantime, we are seeking a co-organizer for the panel from the CASTAC membership. This position will include working with co-organizers from STM to invite senior scholars to participate in the panel, solicit and review abstracts from other potential participants, and help determine the final composition of the panel. Interested parties should contact Christine Labuski (chrislab@vt.edu) or Jennifer Jo Thompson (jjthomp@uga.edu) by December 28, 2012.  

Working abstract:


In keeping with the 2013 AAA meeting theme of ‘Future Publics, Current Engagements,’ this double panel brings junior and senior scholars into dialogue in order to explore how current engagements with (bio)technologies shape attitudes, behaviors, and subjectivities, and thus affect–or have the potential to affect–future publics and future bodies in meaningful ways.

Panel topics might include:

  • Genetic testing: How is the emergence of genetic testing technologies affecting public understanding and discourse about concepts of ‘race’ and ‘risk’ for disease? How does access to information about increased genetic risk for future disease(s) shape future bodies through identity, practice, and policy? As access to this technology becomes more widespread, how will consumer genetic testing products and whole genome sequencing (e.g., the $1000 Genome) affect reproductive decision-making and parenting practices?
  • E-health: How is the use of technology in e-health and telemedicine influencing the way patients and providers define and experience clinical interaction and the doctor-patient relationship?  How does this technology shift notions of what constitutes successful consultation and efficient treatment?
  • Robotics: How do we evaluate the spectrum of robotic technologies – from prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons to full-bodied robots designed both to provide care to and receive care from socially isolated individuals? How are these devices incorporated into the bodies and lives of the patients they are intended to serve?
  • Pharmaceutical technologies: What kinds of bodies are being shaped by the early and/or long-term hormonal manipulation of reproductive-age women and transgender youth? What role do assumptions about gender and heteronormativity play in the distribution of STD vaccines and technology?

Access to (bio)technologies is unevenly distributed across the kinds of differences with which anthropology is engaged. This panel looks at access in bidirectional terms, where technology is insisted upon the bodies of some and withheld from others. For example,

  • How does unequal access to (bio)technologies (such as dialysis, contraception, or abortion) interpolate distinct future publics?
  • How do the states of limited and excessive access to medical technologies contour the emerging bodies and futures of unevenly located individuals and groups?
  • How will the Affordable Care Act impact the deployment of and access to medical technologies?

We will invite senior scholars to participate as presenters or discussants in relation to this broad theme. The specific panel abstract will reflect the composition of participants and junior scholars will be invited to submit abstracts on related topics.

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