Rethinking Political Bodies: A Workshop

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Rethinking Political Bodies: A Workshop

The relationship between biological concepts and political concepts is longstanding — the "body politic" has always been a dominant metaphor for theorizations of political community. However, organicist models of the state have been thoroughly tainted by 19th and early 20th century ideas of unity, homogeneity, and racial purity. Today, bio-politics is a ubiquitous frame for analysis, yet the biological dimension is often underdeveloped. This workshop takes as its starting point the idea that modern biological concepts provide important resources for thinking about organization, order, control, and other key political problems. Papers will explore new links between bodies and political configurations, on the ground and within theoretical discourses. (Contact David Bates [] for access to pre-circulated papers.)

Friday, Oct. 7.  Heyns Room, Faculty Club

9.45    Welcome and introductions

10-12    Panel 1

Camille Robcis (Associate Professor, History, Cornell University)
"Tosquelles, Saint-Alban, and the Invention of Institutional Psychotherapy”

Nima Bassiri (Collegiate Assistant Professor, Universityy of Chicago)
"Simulation Disorders, Malingering, and the Problem of Authenticity in Nineteenth-Century Brain Medicine"

1.30-3.30    Panel 2

Ethel Matala de Mazza (Professor, German, Humboldt University, Berlin)
"Political Physiologies of Community and Society: An Aesthetic Approach"

Alexei Yurchak (Professor, Anthropology, UC Berkeley)
"Immortal Bodies: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty"

4-5    General Discussion

Saturday, Oct. 8, Howard Room, Faculty Club

10-12    Panel 1

Danilo Scholz (EHESS, Paris)
"The Milieu and the Middle: Gilles Deleuze’s Political Ethology"

Rebecca Gaydos (Lecturer, Rhetoric, UC Berkeley)
"Editorial Correction and Eugenics: Eigner’s Manuscripts and the Nonstandard Body"

1.30-3.30    Panel 2

Stefanos Geroulanos (Associate Professor, History, NYU)
"The Political Economy in Bodily Metaphor and the Anthropologies of Integrated Communication, after World War I"

David Bates (Professor, Rhetoric, UC Berkeley)
"Cybernetic States of Emergency"

4-5     Closing Discussion: Collaborations and Future Projects

Supported by the Department of Rhetoric