Biopolitics: In Many Ways

Philippe Theophanidis's picture
February 17, 2019
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Humanities, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Sciences

+++++ Please distribute widely to graduate students who would be interested in our conference +++++


Call for Papers

Interdisciplinary Graduate Student

Conference on Biopolitics

Ryerson University

Toronto, Canada

February 17, 2019

Jointly hosted by:

  • Ryerson and York University Joint Graduate Program Communication & Culture
  • Cultural Analysis and Social Theory MA Program, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Technē: Wilfrid Laurier University Biopolitical Research Group 

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Biopolitics is a predominant paradigm in the social sciences and humanities, which begins from the premise that life is central to modern politics. In the early nineteenth century, biopolitics emerged alongside concerns with overpopulation, public hygiene, pseudo-scientific theories of ‘race,’ and into state institutions such as the socio-biological regime of the Nazis. More recently, contemporary issues such as combating climate change, prevention of the global spread of infectious diseases, as well as rethinking the meaning of being human (given biomedical advances in such areas as genetic engineering, reproductive technologies, and even prosthetics), life has become a central issue for politics.

In our “biopolitical” era governing means to manage, regulate, control, and protect life in all its forms. This line of thinking first gained prominence in the mid-1970s with Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1995), The History of Sexuality, Volume 1 (1990), and his famous lectures at the Collège de France (2003, 2007, 2008).

We are accepting proposals on any topics that relate to biopolitics from across the social sciences and humanities. Contributions from graduate students from all disciplines and critical perspectives are welcome.

Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

•   Biopolitics and the commons

•   Communication, media and the politics of life

•   Disrupting biopolitical borders (immigration, (de)colonization, settlement, and globalization)

•   Epidemics, eugenics, bioethics

•   Humanism, anthropocene, or post-humanism

•   Affirmative biopolitics, Negative biopolitics, the politics of death (thanatopolitics, necropolitics), immunization, or vitalism

•   Governmentality, debt, state of exception, crisis management, total institutions

•   Bare life (zoē) versus political life (bíos)

•   Immaterial labour, the precariat, or the biopolitical economy

•   The extent the discourse of biopolitics possessing emancipatory educational practices

•   The biopolitics of social inequalities (gender, race, sexuality, and etc.)

•   Theories of biopolitical resistance and social justice

We welcome submissions from all graduate students at the Masters and PhD levels. Paper proposals of 200 to 250 words, accompanied by a short biography (including name of program/school), should be submitted no later than Friday, January 18, 2019 to:

Notifications of acceptance will be given by January 25, 2019. 


·      Philippe Theophanidis (Communications Program & Joint Communication and Culture Graduate Program, York University)

·      Greg Bird (Sociology & Cultural Analysis and Social Theory Program, Wilfrid Laurier University)

Affiliated Groups:

Technē: WLU Biopolitical Research Group

Italian Thought Network

Contact Info: 

•    Philippe Theophanidis (Communications Program & Joint Communication and Culture Graduate Program, York University)
•    Greg Bird (Sociology & Cultural Analysis and Social Theory Program, Wilfrid Laurier University)