About the Workshop

The Medicine and Its Objects Workshop (MaIOW) examines medicine in relation to the material and social worlds in which it is enacted. We focus on the multiple objects which constitute medical domains: the objects of inquiry that guide knowledge production, the objects of intervention that direct therapeutic processes, and the material objects that mediate the intersections between theory and practice. MaIOW is a broadly interdisciplinary workshop, bringing together perspectives from Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, Public Health, Social Work, Sociology, and numerous area studies.

Our 2017-18 theme is Vitality. Central to this theme is the question, “what is life?”, both in its historical iterations and its resurgence in the face of biotechnological developments and shifting bio-political concerns. We follow Canguilhem’s assertion that vitality (or Vitalism) is better approached as an ethical imperative rather than a theory: “To live is to attach value to life’s purposes and experiences, to prefer certain methods, circumstances, and directions to others.” At stake then are not simply the organic processes that might designate life, but the encounters of projects and knowledges of living and the practical ethics which emerge in attempts to make or take the “good life.”

Schedule: Alternating Wednesdays, 4:30pm – 6pm, Rosenwald Room 329 (unless otherwise noted)

Coordinator: Kieran Kelley

Faculty Sponsors: Eugene Raikhel (CHD), Michael Rossi (History), and Judith Farquhar (Anthropology)

Mailing List: To sign up for our mailing list and receive updates on forthcoming meetings, enter your email address here.

For more information about the workshop, or if you need assistance in order to attend, please contact the coordinator Kieran Kelley (kierankelley@uchicago.edu)

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