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Message posted on 11/10/2019

Call for Proposals "Mimicry in Metabolism(s)" 13t-14 February 2020 - University of Oslo

Call for Proposals:

Mimicry in Metabolism(s): Industrial Chemicals, Synthetic Hormones, and Un=
ruly Bodies

University of Oslo
UiO:Life Science and Convergence Environment "AnthroTox=2E Combining =
anthropology and toxicology to study global toxicants"

13-14 Feb 2020

Endocrine disrupting chemicals as well as synthetic hormones interfere wit=
h and alter human and nonhuman metabolisms=2E Endocrine disrupting chemical=
s have been identified as potentially harmful to reproductive health, thoug=
h discussions are deeply rooted in "medicalised understandings of the =
body and normative gender identities" (Lee & Mikitiuk 2018)=2E Cer=
tain synthetic hormones, however, act as support for the coming into existe=
nce of non-binary and non-cisgender positions=2E Key to all these mechanism=
s is the potential of some chemicals and synthetic hormones to mimic proces=
ses on the endocrine level=2E
Therefore, this workshop takes the concept of mimicry as a starting point =
for a productive cross-disciplinary discussion on hormones, chemicals and a=
ffected bodies in "late industrialism" (Fortun 2012)=2E Mimicry a=
nd mimesis are key concepts within philosophy and biology to engage with ph=
enomena like imitation, camouflage, adaption and deception=2E As relational=
concepts, they cut across conventional boundaries and demarcations such as=
original/forgery, real/copy, nature/culture or life/technology, connecting=
or disrupting presumed spheres of difference, such as biology and culture =
(Maran 2017)=2E Broadly used in the life sciences the concept can be found =
in a variety of disciplines=2E For the purpose of this workshop, (post)colo=
nial and queer-feminist engagement with mimicry is of particular importance=
=2E Here, the notion of mimicry is equipped with a critical perspective on =
power relations=2E Correspondingly, mimicry as a concept but also as a prac=
tice needs to be understood as embedded in power relations and, to that eff=
ect, simultaneously a result of as well as a threat to hegemonic power (Bha=
ba 1984)=2E It is about questioning naturalized binary notions of gender, a=
bout performative enactment without reference to an original or authentic, =
an "imitation without origin" and "parodic proliferation&quo=
t; (Butler 1990)=2E On paving the way for these movements of thought, it is=
possible to overcome fixed dichotomies and, for instance, to examine envir=
onmental harm without relying on heteronormative assumptions or predefiniti=
ons of what counts as a "normal body" (Agard-Jones 2013; Davis 20=
15)=2E 
Different from classic approaches of environmental anthropology and risk m=
anagement, this workshop takes a polluted world as a starting point (Liboir=
on et al 2018)=2E It asks for the temporally uneven "chemical infrastr=
uctures" of late industrialism (Murphy 2013)=2E Expanding the social s=
tudies of synthetic chemicals and their harmful effects toward the analysis=
of sex and environment as co-constituted (Ah-King & Hayward 2013), thi=
s workshop examines the multiplicity of social practices of chemical mimicr=
y that engage with ambivalences and contradictions, opening up for broader =
aspects of intoxication, environment and the gendered and sexed body=2E&nbs=
p; 

Against this background, we would like to highlight the following topics a=
nd questions:
1)  How can we know hormone mimicking substances? What are the variou=
s forms of knowledges (artistic, activist, scientific, etc=2E)  and im=
aginaries at stake to engage with hormone mimicking substances in the (more=
than human/ other than human) body and the environment?
2) What are possible intersections of queer politics and environmental jus=
tice? How can we avoid a fallback into heteronormative concepts of gender a=
nd bodies while simultaneously taking into account the diverse inequalities=
in exposure to harmful chemicals?
3) What are possibilities of seizing or appropriating technosciences on re=
production and toxicology?  And to which end? What are the practices i=
n place and the politics at stake?

The intention of the workshop is to bring together social anthropologists,=
toxicologists, science and technology studies (STS) scholars, Do-It-Yourse=
lf (DIY) and hacker movements and popular culture=2E It will gather work in=
gender and postcolonial studies and other disciplines on synthetic biology=
engaging with the concept of mimicry=2E

We invite contributions in a range of formats (short presentations, panel =
inputs, artistic research formats)=2E Please submit an abstract of 150 word=
s to franziska=2Eklaas@sai=2Euio=2Eno by 15 November 2019=2E Confirmed part=
icipants will be asked to precirculate a position paper before the workshop=
=2E
Limited financial support for participants without funding is available=2E=



Organizers:
Franziska Klaas, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo
Susanne Bauer, TIK Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture, Universi=
ty of Oslo

This workshop is supported by UiO:Life Science, University of Oslo and the=
Convergence Environment "AnthroTox=2E Combining anthropology and toxi=
cology to study global toxicants"=2E

 

Bibliography:
 
Agard-Jones, Vanessa=2E "Bodies in the System=2E" Small Axe: A C=
aribbean Journal of Criticism 17, no=2E 3 (42) (November 1, 2013): 182-92
Ah-King, Malin, and Eva Hayward=2E "Toxic Sexes-Perverting Pollution =
and Queering Hormone Disruption=2E" O-Zone: A Journal of Object Orient=
ed Studies 1 (2013)=2E 
Bhabha, Homi=2E "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Disc=
ourse=2E" October 28 (1984): 125-33=2E  
Butler, Judith=2E Gender Trouble=2E 1st ed=2E New York: Routledge, 2006=2E=

Davis, Heather=2E "Toxic Progeny: The Plastisphere and Other Queer Fu=
tures=2E" PhiloSOPHIA 5, no=2E 2 (2015): 231-50=2E
Murphy, Michelle=2E "Distributed Reproduction, Chemical Violence, and=
Latency=2E" S&F Online=2E (2013) Accessed September 27, 2019=2E https://sfonline=2Ebarnard=2Eedu/life-un-ltd-feminism-bioscience-ra=
ce/distributed-reproduction-chemical-violence-and-latency/=2E
Fortun, Kim=2E "Ethnography in Late Industrialism=2E" Cultural A=
nthropology 27, no=2E 3 (2012): 446-64=2E 
Lee, Robyn, and Roxanne Mykitiuk=2E "Surviving Difference: Endocrine-=
Disrupting Chemicals, Intergenerational Justice and the Future of Human Rep=
roduction=2E" Feminist Theory 19, no=2E 2 (August 1, 2018): 205-21=2E&=
nbsp;
Liboiron, Max, Manuel Tironi, and Nerea Calvillo=2E "Toxic Politics: =
Acting in a Permanently Polluted World=2E" Social Studies of Science 4=
8, no=2E 3 (June 1, 2018): 331-49=2E 
Maran, Timo=2E Mimicry and Meaning: Structure and Semiotics of Biological =
Mimicry=2E Biosemiotics=2E Springer Int=
ernational Publishing, 2017=2E 

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