EASST/4S 2020 CFP: Health Made Digital

I am co-organizing a conference panel for EASST/4S 2020 with RPI PhD Candidate Hined Rafeh, titled Health Made Digital.

The panel has been accepted in the Medicine and Healthcare track of the conference as an open panel. We are accepting abstracts until February 29, 2020.


With the rise of digital information technologies, the work of aggregating and exchanging data about our health and habits has become faster and easier. From genetic screening to self-tracking apps, and from electronic medical records to digital data archives, digital technologies are reconfiguring healthcare systems and our notions of health. Following from pioneering STS work on genetic health data (Nelson 2016), precision medicine (Ferryman and Pitcan 2018), and self-tracking devices (Lupton 2016, Schull 2016, Nafus and Neff 2016) on the one hand, and recent work on the “bioeconomy” (Birch 2017, 2018) and speculative bioeconomic futures (Benjamin 2016) on the other, this panel aims to stage generative exploration of what counts as health data in the digital age and how it impacts individuals, patient communities, and practices of public health. In a variety of professional and geographic contexts, we hope to consider questions like: What gets considered health data by regulators, and how does that shape its governance and exchange? How do information systems adapt to the introduction of new forms of “health” data, like social media use or purchasing habits? And what publics and expert communities will, or should, have a say in defining, collecting, and governing new forms of health data? By framing these questions in STS literatures, this panel will illustrate how the discipline’s approach to defining slippery objects like “digital health” and “health information” contributes to understanding health and biomedicine as deeply political matters.

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