Contagion/Control: Speculative Futures Graduate Colloquium

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Friday, May 11, 2012
(May 10, South Hall 2635)/(May 11, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB)
Priscilla Wald

Professor of English and Women's Studies

Duke University

This colloquium is part of UCSB's Speculative Futures series and is co-sponsored by CNS-UCSB.

The recent fabrication of the N5N1 supervirus in a Dutch lab, manufactured in an effort to preempt possible bioterrorism, draws attention to the contemporary interpenetration of discourses on risk, security, and infection. The ensuing media frenzy emphasizes the uncanny alignment of science and fiction and foregrounds the potential risk of global catastrophe. The scale of threats such as this has invited the mobilization of a number of containment strategies, including the modeling of pandemics, the mapping of disease networks, and the performance of emergency management scenarios. Such threats also emphasize particular relationships between the local and the global: the asymmetrical production and distribution of risk and discrepancies between spaces of contagion and places of control. Furthermore, outbreak narratives are typically caught between the temporal imaginaries of immediate threat and the always unknowable future. We invite proposals of 200-250 words for graduate student papers or presentations that address questions of contagion, control and tactics that disrupt such control. We especially welcome non-traditional presentations and interventions. Possible topics include:

global north/global south
viral media
the “doom boom”