NEASECS 2013: Eighteenth-Century Biopolitics

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Northeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
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Eighteenth-Century Biopolitics

​In The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault briefly remarks upon a shift in forms of power away from "an anatomo-politics of the human body" towards "a biopolitics of the population," that occurs in the eighteenth century (139). Recent theoretical work on "biopolitics" by Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, and others has extended Foucault's analysis on biopower to include more specific discussions on immunity, sovereignty, and other processes encompassed by Foucault's rather broad enunciation of biopolitical "techniques of power" (141). What has been largely missing from these theoretical accounts of biopolitics is any historically-grounded analysis of specific practices that clearly place the "life" of citizens at the center of politics. This panel seeks papers that investigate biopolitics as an historical phenomenon that emerges in the long eighteenth century. Possible topics include:
​-medical forms of biopower (inoculation/vaccination, dissection, medical experimentation)
​-the intersections among war, revolution, and biopolitics
​-eighteenth-century definitions of life in scientific, medical, political, or legal contexts
​-literary forms of biopower
​-sovereignty, disciplinary power, and surveillance

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to Amy Mallory-Kani ( by June 26, 2013. Applicants will be notified of acceptance on June 30, 2013.