CONTESTED CATEGORIES 2nd Annual Symposium of the Postgraduate Life Sciences and Society Network, 14-17 January 2007, hosted by the Medical Museion, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen

The symposium will focus on how the recent biosciences challenge and reconfigure formerly stable categories: The social and the biological, the nature/culture dichotomy and the human/animal boundaries are increasingly blurred and become populated by hybrids, cyborgs and boundary objects. New material objects, visual and virtual representations produced and circulated in biomedicine and biotechnology challenge and disrupt the analytical categories of the historiographical and social studies of science. The new categories emerging in this empirical field of the biosciences raise a host of questions:

What are the sites of contestation and which categories are at stake? What new kinds of contested/ambiguous relations become possible and acquire significance? How are they co-produced and mediated by material objects and visual and virtual representations? What are the theoretical and methodological implications and challenges we face when studying the life sciences? How can comparative and inter-disciplinary studies contribute to exploring the formation and reconfiguration of categories such as race, gender, kinship, life, the body etc? In which ways can concepts such as biosociality, bioindividuality and hybridity address these changes — are they useful tools or phenomena of these transformations?

We welcome contributions from all disciplines: theoretical and empirical investigations into different aspects of biomedicine/ biosciences as well as investigations of methodological approaches.


The symposium will have a workshop character and consist of two days of paper presentations with an emphasis on discussion of pre-circulated papers. The papers will be distributed to all participants in advance of the meeting, and a discussant will be appointed for each paper. Each presenter has up to 10 minutes to present his/her paper, and the appointed discussant has 5 minutes to comment on the paper and open up the plenary discussion (15 minutes).

The number of participants is limited to 30. We aim at publishing as many of the contributions as possible as an edited book or journal issue. Attendance is free.


Abstracts (max. 300 words) and registration details should be sent by e-mail no later than 15th September to Susanne Bauer [email protected] and Hanne Jessen [email protected]

Papers (max 2000 words) should be sent by e-mail no later than 1st December to Susanne Bauer and Hanne Jessen

VENUE The symposium will be held at the Medical Museion, Fredericiagade 18, 1310 Copenhagen K (

FURTHER INFORMATION Further information about the programme will be published shortly after we have received the abstracts – on the website of the Postgraduate Life Sciences and Society Network ( ) and on the Medical Museion weblog (


Susanne Bauer, epidemiologist and historian of science, PhD, Postdoc, Medical Museion, tel. +45 35 32 38 13, [email protected] Hanne Jessen, anthropologist, MSc, PhD scholar, Medical Museion, tel + 45 35 32 38 14, [email protected], and Nete Schwennesen, sociologist, MSc, PhD scholar, tel. +45 35 32 71 81, [email protected] Biocampus and Department of Health Services Research

Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen