Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Roundtable Launch for S&F Special Issue

CSW is hosting a roundtable and celebration of the special issue of the online journal, The Scholar and Feminist (S&FOnline), devoted to Life (Un)Ltd: Feminism, Bioscience, and Race on Monday, October 14, 2013, from 3 to 6 pm in the YRL conference room.  

The range of research addressed as feminist science and technology studies in this special issue suggest the vibrant engagement in questions of bioscience’s effects on women and the LGBTSI communities that CSW is proud to have supported.  We are confident that this roundtable will prompt further scholarly collaborations and discussions across the humanistic, life science, and social scientific fields.

At the event, commentators Deboleena Roy, Laura Briggs, and Jackie Orr, will open up the roundtable with remarks on a preview version of the special issue.  Several contributors to the volume—Renee Tajima-Peña, Lindsay Smith, Diane Nelson, Rachel Lee, Lisa Onaga, Hannah Landecker, and Michelle Murphy—will then discuss their research and activism with regard to feminist STS (Science and Technology Studies) as well as cross-talk their work with the commentators and audience. Laptops will be streaming the journal so that audience can view it. 

Three areas of research are highlighted in the volume and at the roundtable. The first section, Eugenic Legacies and Infrastructures of Reproduction, takes us through the evolving terrain of feminist STS research on select biomedical procedures. Continuing along these lines, the scholars whose work comprises section II, Cross-species and Cross-kingdom Enmeshments, confirm that one cannot think the labor of reproduction and “generativity” without also thinking the non-human animal as well as the bacterial, insect, fungal, and horticultural microbiologies coassembled with the animal. Section III, Governmentality and Activism in Biotechnical Times, bring us back round to specific biotechnologies.


Laura Briggs is Chair of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Somebody’s Children: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (Duke 2012) and Reproducing empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (UC Press, 2002).  Her research addresses international adoption, biology, eugenics, race and colonialism.

Jackie Orr is Associate Professor Sociology at Syracuse University and author of Panic Diaries: A Genealogy of Panic Disorder (Duke, 2006).  She combines political theater, digital media, and social history to explore the labor of the experimental medical subject, pharmacology, and the psychopolitics of bioterrorism.

Deboleena Roy is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University.  In her doctoral work, she examined the effects of estrogen and melatonin on the gene expression and cell signaling mechanisms in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons of the hypothalamus.  Her areas of interest include feminist science and technology studies, philosophy of science, critical disability studies, postcolonial studies, sexuality studies, neuroscience, molecular and synthetic biology, and reproductive health and justice movements.


Michelle Murphy is a Professor in the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. She is an organizer of the Toronto Technoscience Salon and coordinator of the Technoscience Research Unit. Her work focuses on environmental politics, labor, biopolitics, sexed and raced life, calculation, economic practices, reproduction and technology through feminist transnational, postcolonial, political economic, and queer approaches.

Hannah Landecker is a historian and sociologist of biology and biotechnology whose work on cell culture, microcinematography, and metabolism draws on and contributes to issues central to feminist science studies:  the commercialization of life and reproduction, biology as a site of social engineering, implications of epigenetics for the social and self-governance of pregnancy, and philosophical tensions between plasticity and determinism in biomedical explanations of human nature and disease.

Lisa Onaga is an assistant professor at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research examines the history of the life sciences in relation to agriculture, Japanese nationhood, and race. She is currently writing a book on the history of hybrid silkworms and the mass production of silk in modern Japan. Lisa was a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics in 2011-2012.

Rachel Lee is Associate Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women and Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at UCLA. She teaches courses in critical theory, ethnic literature, and medical humanities.  She is the author of "Haptics, Mobile Handhelds, and other ‘Novel’ Devices: The Tactile Unconscious of Reading across Old and New Media,” “Notes from the (non)Field: Theorizing and Teaching ‘Women of Color,’” The Americas of Asian American Literature: Gendered Fictions of Nation and Transnation; and the co-editor of Asian America.Net Ethnicity, Nationalism, Cyberspace

Diane Nelson is Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Women's Studies at Duke University. Nelson’s work deals with subjectivity and power, and draws on close to 25 years of work in Guatemala. She focuses on how complex social formations like nationalism, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality intersect with violence and the state to produce people’s senses of identity. She began working in Guatemala in 1985 in the midst of the civil war. Since then she has studied the causes and effects of that war and what genocide means on the ground to those who survived it.

Lindsay Smith is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on the development forensic genetics and its impact on identity, kinship, and human rights in post-conflict settings Latin America.

Renee Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose work focuses on Asian American and immigrant communities, race, gender and social justice. Her directing credits include the documentaries, Calavera HighwaySkate ManzanarLabor WomenMy America...or Honk if You Love Buddha and Who Killed Vincent Chin? Her films have premiered at the Cannes, Sundance and Toronto film festivals, and she has received the Peabody Award, Dupont-Columbia Award, Alpert Award in the Arts, USA Broad Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

For more information about the event, visit

—Rachel Lee
CSW Associate Director
Associate Professor, Departments of English and Gender Studies

Cosponsors of the roundtable/launch party are Barnard Center for Research on Women, which has been publishing S&F Online since 2003, as a forum for scholars, activists, and artists whose work articulates the ever-evolving role of feminism in struggles for social justice, and  the Charles E. Young Young Research Library has long been devoted to innovative platforms for promoting research and instruction.

Alex Zobel will be live blogging the event: “Versed: culture + cultivation // theory + practice // contemplativa + active” (

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