ASA Conference 2018: Creative Bodies

prm 1 copy


ASA2018, 18-21 September
The University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University


The human body has long been recognized as a site where the biological, social, and the material converge. Bodies are creative in the sense that they not only grow and reproduce other bodies, but through performances and gestures, they inscribe, manipulate, and communicate ethnicity and gender, health and sickness, vulnerability and resistance. At the same time, bodies remain sites for the production of inequality and alterity. Proliferating images represent and mediate bodily experiences in diverse ways, and bodies are increasingly mobile, distributed, and virtual. Furthermore, developments in technologies – whether applied to bodies before birth, in life, or after death – are recreating both human physicality and the ways in which it is possible to imagine it.
We invite panels to explore questions relating to bodies, their materiality, and their imagined dimensions. How are imaginative processes grounded in embodied action, and how are bodies enmeshed in wider social and ecological relationships? How are shifting relations between the human and the non-human affecting bodies, and indeed redefining the 'human'?

alice street web

Keynote speaker: Alice Street

Alice Street is a medical anthropologist at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the material politics of health care in the Global South and has included ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea’s public hospitals, and research on the social and ethical issues surrounding technologies designed to improve health service delivery in ‘hard to reach’ areas, such as point of care diagnostic tests, drones and cold chain monitors. She is the author of Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinea Hospital. For more information, click here.

ASA2018 keynote lecture: The Body Tested

People living at the geographic periphery of biomedical health care are facing a testing revolution. Miniature machines and devices are making their way along rough tracks to makeshift clinics, are being fed with human fluids, and are giving up new information about the non-humans nested deep in individual bodies. This presentation discusses the mass deployment of point-of-care diagnostic technologies to those living at the margins of institutionalized health care as a starting point for exploring the endless capacity of creative bodies to defy scientific know-ability. What does it mean to make bodies visible at a biochemical or molecular level, and what does it matter where those bodies are? I will discuss how new diagnostic technologies re-order relationships, open up uncertainty, and enable new imaginings of what a body is.


anna grimshaw web

Keynote speaker: Anna Grimshaw

Anna Grimshaw teaches anthropology at Emory University. She is the author of The Ethnographer's Eye and co-author of Observational Cinema. Her films, Mr Coperthwaite: A Life in the Maine Woods and At Low Tide are distributed by Berkeley Media and the Royal Anthropological Institute. For more information, click here.

ASA2018 keynote lecture: The Light of the Piece: An Exploration of Materiality and Creative Practice in a Maine Landscape

In this presentation, I will screen a short film in order to raise questions about how the medium can be used to explore embodied practice within a material landscape. How might anthropologists work with image, sound and movement to explore the creative body and how might the medium render imaginative dimensions of experience? What does a filmic engagement ask of subjects, audiences, and, crucially, the anthropological filmmaker herself?


The Call for Panels is now open (deadline 26th February 2018): please click here

We expect the Call for Papers to go out in February 2018, and registration some time after that. In the meantime, if you have any enquiries about the conference please contact ASA Conference 2018 


List of site pages