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Jan 30: Sherryl Vint, "Living in Post-Vital Times"

A Food for Thought Event: RSVP requested

Jan 30, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Bldg. #1246)

"Living in Post-Vital Times"

Professor Sherryl Vint

Media and Cultural Studies and English, UC Riverside

Tuesday January 30th, 12:10-2:00pm
STS/CSIS Conference Room (SSH 1246)
As usual, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced at the start of the session. The introduction will be followed by an hour or so of lively discussion about the text, so please come having read the paper in advance. Food and refreshments will be provided!

Abstract: "Living in Post-Vital Times" seeks to theorize the consequences of recent biological research that require we require that we rethink the boundary between living and non-living, from the organisms created by synthetic biology to the "living cadavers" of transplant medicine. Exploring in particular ways that bioeconomics challenges the liberal separation of the subject and the thing by commodifying aspects of the human body, it will outline a theory of the post-vital that begins from such conflations of biological organism and tool or thing. I will use examples from speculative fiction to interrogate these shifts, drawing on Sheila Jasanoff's work on the sociotechnical imaginary to understand such cultural texts as not merely reflecting technological change but also participating in the ongoing construction of what futures we should seek to construct.

Sherryl Vint is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and English at the University of California, Riverside, where she directs the Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science program. Her research focuses on speculative fiction and social change. She is an author of Bodies of Tomorrow, Animal Alterity, The Wire, and Science Fiction: A Guide to the Perplexed. She is an editor of the journals Science Fiction Studies and Science Fiction Film and Television, and of the book series Science and Popular Culture. She has edited several books, most recently Science Fiction and Cultural Theory: A Reader. Her current research project, The Promissory Imagination: Speculative Futures and Biopolitics, explores the exchanges between speculative imagination and material practice in personalized medicine, epigenetics, agribusiness and other genomic research.