AAA 2017 CFP: Bodies and Their Boundaries

Bodies and their Boundaries: Biopolitical relations of “queer messmates in mortal play” 

Organized by Colin Cahill (UC Irvine) and Christy Spackman (Harvey Mudd College) in association with the Science, Technology, and Medicine Interest Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology

Recent political shifts in the United States, the European Union, and elsewhere have once again highlighted the fraught nature of borders and those who cross them. Scholars of multispecies relationships such as Donna Haraway (2008), Anna Tsing (2015), and Alex Nading (2013; 2016) show that there are other sorts of borders one might think with: borders where bodies of one kind enter into relations with bodies of another kind, where lines get drawn between kin, kind, and species to differentiate ways of being in the world which cannot, in a material or semiotic sense, be easily separated. This panel draws on Haraway’s proposal that we reconsider such relationships between humans and other species through a lens of play–not just play for fun, but play that matters, that engages, tests, challenges, and remakes how one is in the world. We ask, what games of entanglement are made visible when boundaries are crossed at various scales–from the microbial scale implicit in biosecurity debates, to the macro scale where foods, animals, and peoples are quarantined for their tangled biopoliticial relationships? We specifically seek papers that explore the ways in which human, microbial, plant, animal, and mineral bodies come together despite the boundaries that are supposed to separate them. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • How concepts of microbial others shape and are shaped by imaginaries of citizenship and belonging
  • How human conceptions of differences in and movements across scales intersect with the production and circulation of evidence
  • How metabolic intimacy (John Law and Annemarie Mol 2008) troubles boundaries between bodies
  • How considering boundary crossing as a form of play challenges taken-for-granted hygienic framings

Please submit 250 word abstracts to and by Friday, April 7, 2017.

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