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P233


Oh my gut: anthropological pathways to the cultural, affective, medical and multispecies entanglements of the gut 
Convenors:
Antonia Modelhart (University of Vienna)
Susanna Azevedo (University of Vienna)
Maya Hey (Centre for the Social Study of Microbes, University of Helsinki)
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Formats :
Panel
Mode :
Face-to-face

Short Abstract:

This panel delves into anthropological (un)doings of the gut by expanding the scope of research beyond the medical(-ized) gut to its cultural, affective, medical, and multispecies entanglements. We invite papers that proceed from the gut to explore these entanglements.

Long Abstract:

The gut is a confounding site, spanning biomedical, social, and semiotic approaches to analysis. It is viscerally situated as much as it is a liminal and transitory space. The gut disrupts binaries such as rational and emotional knowing. It can enforce embodied differences in raced, classed, gendered, and able-bodied power relations, but it can also undo anthropocentric or otherwise normative modes of being-with other organisms. It can be a site for colonizing and a site to contest it.

This complexity is represented in diverse anthropological inquiries of the gut. Research explores biomedical and health interventions like microbiome/metagenomic research, fecal transplantation, and metabolic transformations (Raffaeta, Wolf-Meyer) as well as kinship rituals related to food preparation, consumption, and caregiving (Hey). Discussions also revolve around purity and heritage, involving the preservation or bioprospecting of fecal samples from specific (often indigenous) communities to capitalize on uncertain microbial futures (Hubert & Maroney). Multispecies inquiries delve into how to nourish oneself alongside other organisms, particularly when these organisms are enlisted primarily for human benefit. Studies also explore socio-political considerations that evolve around the gut including economic, temporal, and spatial negotiations concerning well-being and proper nourishment (Benezra). Finally, the gut feeling is addressed by anthropologists as a means of making sense of uncertainty (Kristensen) but not without critically emphasizing its potential for stabilizing social inequalities (Stoler).

Our panel seeks to bring together scholars from these diverse fields of research, fostering a comprehensive exploration of the multifaceted gut-related anthropological studies.

Accepted papers: