Science as CultureCALL FOR PAPERS: special issue on ‘Technology, Death and the Cultural Imagination’

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: November 17th, 2007

This special issue will explore concepts of death – its causes, its prevention, its ambiguities, its interfaces with life – and how these relate to technocultures.

As well as technologies of death (as used in warfare, execution and death camps) and technologies closely associated with death (aeroplanes, cars and early industrial technology, for instance), medical technologies which aim to prevent or delay death have had a considerable impact on what it means to die and, conversely, what it means to live.  Cryonic suspension for example keeps the body in a form of undeath and offers the possibility of resurrection into a future world while the cloning of replacement body parts blurs the boundaries of identity and thus poses questions about concepts of death, life and individuality.  Similarly, technologies which keep the body 'alive' complicate legal definitions of death.  Science fiction in particular has been concerned with reconceptualising what it means to die.

We are interested in papers which explore these ideas and their expression in art and literature, including critiques of recent films and publications or re-readings of classics, as well as readings of other cultural objects. We also welcome papers which have a historical perspective and focus on pre-twentieth century technologies of death.  Subjects for consideration may include (but are not limited to) the following:

Consumer technologies and 'unusual' death. Vampires. Modern/Postmodern Frankensteins and concepts of (re)animation Technology and the language of death (e.g.,'collateral damage'). Technology, global capitalism and death. Brain death and the preservation of the body. Technologies of/and death as the subject of art. Science fictions of death/undeath. Celebrity resurrections. Drugs and the concept of 'living death'. Technologies and the life of the body after death. New technologies and preservation at the point of death. ‘Ghostly’ body parts and transplanted organs. The status of the unborn or ‘potentially’ human.

Science as Culture is dedicated to exploring the culture of technoscientific expertise and how it shapes the values which contend for influence over the wider society.  The journal encompasses people’s experiences at various sites – the workplace, the cinema, the computer, the hospital, the home and the academy.  The articles are readable, attractive, lively, often humorous, and always jargon-free. SaC aims to be read at leisure, and to be a pleasure.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent, by either post or e-mail (with SaC in the subject line) to either of the following addresses, to arrive no later than November 17th, 2007:

Debra Benita Shaw Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies School of Social Sciences, Media & Cultural Studies University of East London 4-6 University Way London E16 2RD United Kingdom[AT]

Megan Stern Senior Lecturer in English, Critical Theory & Media Studies Department of Humanities, Arts & Languages London Metropolitan University Tower Building 166-220 Holloway Road London N7 8DB United Kingdom m.stern[AT]