SOMAA2019 Call for Proposals - Biomedical Dialogues: Thinking across Bodies and Borderlands

SOMAA, the Society of Medical Anthropology in Aotearoa, is now calling for submissions for its 2019 hui. SOMAA2019 will be held on 28 November in Whāingaroa (Raglan), Waikato, New Zealand.

Call for Abstracts

As medical anthropologists, we recognise that bodies—both biological or institutional—are porous. The material, transcendental potential of biomedical porosity deepens when placed alongside conversations on spaces in-between—on borderlands—and this compels us to rearticulate borders, boundaries, subjectivities and medical porosity. Drawing on Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s generative rendering of borderlands (even those designated as zones of exclusion) as spaces of hybridity and possibilities, we seek papers that articulate bodies, medicine and medical practices both in borderlands, but also as borderlands. To imagine biomedicine in and as a borderland allows us to stage conversations on medical agentive possibilities and structural limitations in radically plural terms: to be continually becoming, to be one thing then another and then both, to be subjectively liminal, to be ontologically uncertain. To live and negotiate in and from medical borderlands makes visible the hybridity of experiences and articulations of bodies in biomedicine. Thinking with biomedical borderlands might enable enlivened understandings, and even re-imaginings, of justice, morphology, resistance, morality and coercion in these sites. We encourage submissions that are empirically grounded and intellectually diverse. We are particularly keen to hear student voices as part of this dialogue. We are also keen on submissions that are creative and experimental in the way they engage with medical bodies and borderlands.

A Note on the Experimental Format - Dialogues

The 2019 SOMAA hui is organized into six dialogues, that is 12 people will get to present their work. Instead of presenting in a standard conference format, each dialogue will comprise two people each presenting their work for 10 minutes while also reflecting/engaging with their paired scholar’s work. This experimental format is a way to encourage conversations amongst the SOMAA community not just on the day, but before and after (with the possibility of publication which the organizers are currently coordinating).

To ground our meeting in dialogues is a two-pronged effort to disrupt academic hierarchies. For one, we wish to make space for difference by steering away (even if momentarily) from the panel and discussant model. Second, we believe the dialogues offer for a rigorous conversation between two people – as equals, with equal weight to their knowledge(s) and histories. SOMAA has been instrumental in making us think creatively about/with/through medical anthropology. The dialogues are a continuation of SOMAA’s creative pushing back to the normative and generating collaborative modes through which to think, write, engage, and dialogue about medical anthropology in/of/from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Submission Details

Please email your abstracts of no more than 150 words by July 15th, 2019. You can submit individual abstracts and we will coordinate to find another scholar (based on their abstract) for your ‘Dialogue.’ You will then work with this person over a two-month period (sharing work prior to November hui). We will provide additional details once the abstracts are paired. You are also encouraged to submit as a pair (with two separate abstracts – but identifying the pairing).

Email abstracts to: AND AND

For all questions or clarifications, please email Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, Mythily Meher, and Pauline Herbst at the email address above.