1st Global Conference: Augmentation (September 2014: Oxford, United Kingdom)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Rob Fisher/ Inter-Disciplinary.Net

1st Global Conference: Augmentation

Wednesday 3rd September – Friday 5th September 2014
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations

Augmented humans often star in our favourite science fictions: from the cyberpunk heroes of William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy to the villainous Darth Vader of George Lucas's Star Wars, fictional augmented characters teach the viewer what it means to live augmented lives. And yet, cyborgs and other types of augmented individuals are not just found in science fiction.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (and the CDC), some 11 million Americans, or 4.6 percent of the nation, had at least one type of medical implant in 1988. While medical implants like heart valves and pacemakers were first introduced in the early 1950s, we can trace human augmentation as far back as ancient Egypt through the use of dental implants. The medical implant industry expects sales of implantable devices in the United States to approach 52 billion dollars in 2015. But more than big business, human augmentation is big culture.

Following Donna Haraway's 1985 Cyborg Manifesto, technology continues to enhance and redefine the human condition; and yet, many post-humanist critics would argue that to some extent humanity has always already been defined through its relationship with technology. More recently, Disability Studies advances the augmentation argument by examining ways in which diagnosis, prosthesis, and culture refine, and define, notions of what it means to be 'normal.' In what ways is humanity augmented by technology, and to what extent does humanity rely upon such technology to remain, as well as evolve conceptions of, the human?

Human augmentation permeates any number of cultural phenomena: in sports, Oscar Pistorius gained fame as the fastest man with no legs; in art, Matthew Barney celebrated the augmented the body in his Cremaster Cycle; in fashion, Aimee Mullens and Alex Minsky model augmentation as both avant-garde and ready to wear. Each year, consumers are encouraged to upgrade to the latest i-Product while magazine covers encourage breast, brow, and full body silicon upgrades. As technology becomes more personal, the body itself is becoming the network interface. In what ways do designers take the body into account when developing new products, and in turn, in what ways is the body designed by these products?

And what is the effect when individuals take augmentation into their own hands? In 2010, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas created the Cyborg Foundation, a non-profit organization encouraging people to explore their augmented potential, extending their senses and experience the world in new ways. Harbisson's eyeborg device translates color into sound, enabling the colour blind to experience their environment in a more textured manner.

This conference invites papers from all disciplines that explore human augmentation in its myriad forms, whether through literary studies, medicine, political science, science fiction, neuroscience, alienation studies, cultural analysis, research and development, fine art, industrial design, among others. In addition to examining augmentation as represented in the humanities, we encourage designers, manufacturers, hackers, and other engineers of the body to participate.

Below is a list of possible topics, but we are open to additional contributions:

- Augmentation as Cure. Techno-evolution.
- Cyborgs. Cyberpunk fiction.
- Scientific advancement. Fictional Disabilities.
- Social Media as Augmentation. Neural-a-typicality.
- ADHD Medications as Augmentation.
- Disability. Prosthesis as Metaphor.
- Augmented Realities. Virtual Realities. Manga Augments. The Matrix. Mobile Suits.
- Wearable Technology. Google Glass. Oculus Rift.
- Body-Hacking. 3D Printed Bodies/Parts. DIY Augmentation.
- Graphic Novels. Augment as Hero. Augment as Villain.
- Fem-bots. Cyber-feminism. Bio-ware. Mind/Body/Technology Interface.
- Punking Augmentation. Body Modification/Self-Augmentation.
- Physical Enhancement. Para-Olympians. Paralympics.
- Augmented Athletes (Doping scandals)
- Exoskeletons. Enhanced Senses. Augmenting Aging.
- Art and Disability. Disabled Veterans. Representations of the Disabled in Media.
- Augmented models. Disability and Art. Disability and War. Neural Mapping.
- Disability Culture. Augmenting Race.
- Implantation. Augmented Learning. Augmented Memory.
- Tele-presence. Cochlear Implants. Corneal Implants. Retinal Implants.
- GPS (Geographic Augmentation?)
- Passing Normativity.
- Augmenting Invisible Disability.
- Social Justice and Augment Rights.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between The Graphic Novel and Augmentation.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 4th April 2014. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 11th July 2014. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: AUG1 Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs
Ken Montieth: kmonteith@aol.com
Rob Fisher:aug1@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Persons series of research projects, which in turn belong to the Probing the Boundaries programmes of Inter-Disciplinary.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore discussions which are innovative and challenging. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.