1st Edition

The Somatechnics of Life and Death Towards a New Feminist Biopolitics

Edited By Elizabeth Stephens, Karin Sellberg Copyright 2021
    132 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    132 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What is ‘life’ and how do we define its boundaries? Is life immeasurable or are there levels of ‘liveliness’? How should we relate to entities that are not technically alive at all? As the world becomes increasingly technologized, questions about what counts as ‘life’ and ‘living’ have become a key field of inquiry in contemporary philosophical and arts discourse. As Mel Chen acknowledges in Animacies (2012), the "continued rethinking of life and death’s proper boundaries" has increasingly been recognized as a priority in twenty-first-century North American, European and Australasian critical theory. Indeed, the contributors of this volume go as far as to argue that the question of life has become the central problematic of recent feminist biopolitics, alongside discussions of scientific ethics and technological/organic power relationships.

    This volume explores points of intersection and divergence between critical conceptions of time and technology, drawing on a range of perspectives and approaches to examine our mediated and material embodied entanglements with key questions about life and death. It is a significant new contribution to the study of corporeality in gender studies and feminism, and will be of interest to academics, researchers and advanced students of philosophy, gender studies, literary theory, and politics.

    It was originally published as a special issue of Australian Feminist Studies.

    Introduction: The Somatechnics of Life and Death: Recent Trends in Gender Studies

    Elizabeth Stephens and Karin Sellberg

    1. (Micro)chimerism, Immunity and Temporality: Rethinking the Ecology of Life and Death

    Margrit Shildrick

    2. The Queer Temporality of CandidaHomo Biotechnocultures

    Tarsh Bates

    3. The Logic of Life: Thinking Suicide through Somatechnics

    Saartje Tack

    4. Disrupting Time: Somatechnics and the Opening of the Interval

    Laura Roberts

    5. Experimenting with ‘Life’ in Nineteenth-Century Physiology: Brown-Séquard's Method for Characterising Blood

    Patrick M. Walsh

    6. The ‘Turns’ of Feminist Time: Evolutionary Logic, Life and Renewal in ‘New Materialist’ Feminist Philosophy

    Karin Sellberg

    7. The Somatechnics of Breath: Trans* Life at this Moment in History: An Interview with Susan Stryker

    Elizabeth Stephens and Karin Sellberg


    Elizabeth Stephens is Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland, Australia. She is the author of three books, most recently Normality: A Critical Genealogy (2017).

    Karin Sellberg is Lecturer in Humanities in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland, Australia. She has published extensively on feminist discourses of corporeality and time, and has edited two books: Gender & Time (2017) and Corporeality and Culture: Bodies in Movement (2015).