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Open panel “Collating publics in collections of human biological material and data” at 4S Sydney (29.08.–01.09.2018, Sydney)

The 2018 annual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), themed “TRANSnational STS”, will take place from 29 August to 1 September 2018 in Sydney, Australia.

You are invited to submit papers for the open panel “Collating publics in collections of human biological material and data”, which is organized by Nina Amelung (University of Minho), Erik Aarden (University of Vienna) and Torsten Heinemann (Universität Hamburg):

This panel seeks to explore how particular ‘publics’ – of citizens, stakeholders, populations, or otherwise – are put together through collections of human biological materials – such as blood, DNA, fingerprints, etc. – and data. We encourage contributions which study how publics are co-produced in technoscientific, social and political orders that shape the formation of repositories containing human biological materials and data (as applied in e.g. the medical, forensic, migration policy context). Papers address, but are not limited to, the following questions: how database systems and their classifications configure ontological entities with particular normative ascriptions of publics; how practices of taking samples, producing, storing and exchanging materials and data, and governing databases enact, affect or mobilize notions of citizenship; how political issues produced by and reflected in such databases are negotiated and thereby (re)make affected publics and forms of (biological) citizenship; how the materiality of database infrastructures and networks that make databases work enable or constrain imaginaries of collectives; how such databases give rise to ecologies of participation that mobilize human rights groups, patient groups, migration activists, etc.

We invite colleagues to present empirically rich and conceptually informed reflections on the relations between the collection of human biological materials and data, and the formation of diverse publics and forms of citizenship, across different cultural locations, contexts of application and forms of storage. With the contributions to this panel, we thereby explore the empirical, theoretical and political significance of how human collectives are imagined in practices of collecting.

The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2018.

For more information, check the conference website.

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