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Enhancement Cultures and Future Bodies 
Melike Sahinol
Martin Sand
Christopher Coenen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT))
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Friday 2 September, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid

Short Abstract:

We invite contributions that focus on practices or visions of body modification in different cultural settings, shedding light on heterogeneous ways in which bodies may be (per)formed now and in the future. This can include but does not need to be limited to so-called 'human enhancement'.

Long Abstract:

The variety of technologies used for body modification, including so-called 'human enhancement technologies' (HET), and the settings in which they are embedded are increasingly experimented with and discussed about in discourse on science, technology and society. In discussions about HET, it is often assumed that the convergence of nano-, bio-, neuro- and information technologies will lead to a massive transformation of human corporeality and human-technology interrelations. Some tools are already tested in animals, based on the widespread reduction of living beings to their biological properties. So-called 'animal enhancement' is thus crucial to the understanding also of HET. Assumptions and approaches of HET proponents, and enhancement cultures (such as so-called "cosmetic surgery") more generally, are criticised from various philosophical, sociological and other perspectives (e.g. phenomenology, feminism, ANT, philosophical anthropology, disability/ableism studies). At the same time, practices of body modification performed outside enhancement cultures (e.g. elements of the new cyborgism) are reflected in studies building on feminist cyborg and related studies. Heterogeneous practices and interpretations in different cultural or societal settings thus shape our understandings of bodies in a wide variety of ways. Against this backdrop, we invite papers dealing with (i) medical or non-medical body modifications through established, new or emerging technologies in specific cultural (e.g. religious) or societal settings, (ii) imaginaries of future bodies (e.g. 'enhanced bodies' or advanced cyborgs), (iii) the blurring of boundaries between therapy / disability compensation / enhancement, or (iv) anthropological, gender, human-animal and intercultural aspects of the techno-social developments in question.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 2 September, 2016, -