CFP: Negotiating Technologies of Health, Identity and Governance

Monitoring the Self: Negotiating Technologies of Health, Identity and Governance (CfP, Helsinki, 8–10 November 2017)

This conference is organized by the Nordic Network Gender Body Health, in collaboration with Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (University of Helsinki). It is funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). The keynote speaker will be Professor Deborah Lupton, University of Canberra, Australia.

The twenty-first century has been marked by an increasing number of (bio)technologies that enable intimate and continuous monitoring of bodies in the name of health and well-being. Self-tracking and self-monitoring technologies have emerged across the domains of well-being, preventive medicine and identity work. These technologies can involve self-tracking of daily activities or exercise, monitoring personal goals such as weight loss or conception, identifying and managing existing or potential medical conditions, and tracing identity, for example, through genetic ancestry.

Yet these monitoring developments encompass forms of self-tracking which go beyond ‘do-it-yourself’ kits or personalized devices. We have also seen trends towards ‘molecular’ monitoring of the body and enhanced forms of biomedical self-governance (Rose, 2007). These new technologies, marketed to both patients and health practitioners as consumers, are part of a larger process of commodification of not only health technologies but also health itself (Clarke et al, 2010). New health technologies can enable the crossing of scientific/non-scientific boundaries, and creative or unanticipated uses of such technologies may emerge. These changes may demand a more active and purposive role of individuals in their own health and well-being. However, there has been little attention paid to what role gender, race, disability, class and migration may play (Nelson, 2016). Our conference seeks to explore critically how this increasingly biotechnological landscape is transforming how bodies, identity and health are read, measured and practised.

In particular, the conference invites submissions around the following questions:

*   What role do concepts such as self, bodies and technologies play in formations of identity, risk and self-governance?

*   How do gender, race, disability, and/or class affect and shape heterogeneous engagement with and experiences of these technologies?

*   How are self-tracking and self-monitoring technologies situated in the larger dynamics of societal change, such as changes in the gendered and racialized responsibilities for care, or the neoliberal restructuring of societies?

*   In what ways do self-tracking technologies articulate or emerge through global and postcolonial power hierarchies?

*   In what global and local contexts do these technologies and practices make sense as ways of managing health, well-being or identity?

*   What is the relationship between migration and/or travel of bodies across borders and self-monitoring technologies, and how does this play into larger ‘citizenship’ projects?

This conference focuses on this intersection of technologies, bodies, monitoring and the self. We invite conference papers to engage in wider discussions across health areas, technologies, geographic contexts and academic disciplines. We aim to include a range of scholars, practitioners and artists to allow us to identify key issues and creatively explore our (collective) responses to these increasingly individualizing, neoliberal technologies of the self in contemporary health practices and imaginaries.

Please submit your abstract (200-250 words) by 19 May 2017 through this electronic form.

Conference Organizers: please contact Dr Venla Oikkonen, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies or Dr Ingrid Young, University of Edinburgh, on behalf of the Nordic Network Gender Body Health.