International conference at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), September 21-24 2005
Organised by Forschungsstelle für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Philipp Sarasin, Silvia Berger, Marianne Hänseler and Myriam Spörri
The conference is devoted to the discussion of cultural perceptions of infectious diseases and their metaphorical spin-offs in past and present political discourse. We aim to bring to-gether epidemiological investigations with cultural and social analyses of public discourses on infectious diseases and their political dimensions. Historical contributions will situate con-temporary discussions in the wider historical context, and provide points of comparison be-tween older conceptions and phantasms associated with plagues with contemporary repre-sentations and political action.
The conference will last three days and will combine keynote talks and workshops. The conference languages will be English and German. Papers to be presented in workshops are invited on the following specific and more generally related issues, in order to stimulate a cross-disciplinary discussion:
Plague and smallpox: Infection and the politics of quarantine in the Ancien Régime
Cultural history and history of science of bacteriology and immunology
Fears of infection in the 19th and 20th century: Women, Blacks, Jews, and Immigrants
War, fight and migration as bacteriological (and immunological) master metaphors
The “Spanish Influenza” of 1918 and the puzzles of virology
Architecture and infection
Infection and identity: scientific, social, cultural and psychoanalytic aspects of the self/non-self-relation
The invisible enemy: Technologies and metaphors of visualization in bacteriology and immunology
Metaphors of infection in the political discourse of the 20th century: parasites, mi-crobes and the politics of „ethnic cleansing”
The return of infectious diseases: epidemiological, cultural and political dimensions of infection in an age of globalization
Discourses about Aids
SARS as global infection – SARS as metaphor of globalization?
Politics and technologies of border control and security in Europe and the U.S.
Bioterror: Political reality or political phantasma?
Keynote Speakers are:
Sander Gilmann, Christoph Gradmann, Ilana Löwy, Ruth Mayer/Brigitte Weingart, Wolfgang Preiser, Nancy Tomes, Paul Weindling
Contributions from the fields of epidemiology, history, sociology, literature, philosophy and cultural studies are welcome. Abstracts in English or German (max. 200 words) should be submitted via email to lic. phil. Myriam Spörri (e-mail address provided below), until March 31st, 2005.
Forschungsstelle für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte
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