Call for Papers Workshop at the Conference of the German Anthropological Association (GAA) 2017 in Berlin (4.-7.10.2017)

Bodies, categorizations and rights: on biological forms of political subjectivity

News from Dec 07, 2016

What do genetic testing, affirmative action policies, the categorization of care needs and age assessments in asylum seekers have in common? These practices all determine access to resources and rights via the body. Legitimate candidacy and forms of belonging are proven and narrated via certain “biological” properties and qualities.

This workshop focuses on the question how science (e.g. genetics, forensic anthropology, biology), medicine or state institutions perform certain bodies, and how this in turn leads to different forms of inclusion, exclusion, belonging and claims as well as distribution of rights and resources.

How does the articulation of categories of difference like gender, age, race and other categories of subjectification that can be characterized as “biological” take place in concrete practices? How are “truths from bodies” being established? What kinds of positions to speak from are made possible via the body? What kind of infrastructures stabilize this knowledge about and gained from bodies?

In the light of recent discussions on biosocialities, political subjectivities and concepts like “the body multiple” we invite anthropologists to discuss which “truths”, which “bodies” and which subjectivities are being articulated in practices of categorization and infrastructures of recognition. We welcome theoretical and ethnographic presentations that address the following and other questions:

  • Which role do bodies play in articulations of political subjectivity?
  • How are evidence and objectivity established in practices that triage resources?
  • What exactly is the difference between bodily and verbal narratives in certain practices?
  • How are bodies shaped and modified in order to claim certain rights?


Please send a text of max. 1.200 characters (incl. spaces) and also a short version of max. 300 characters (incl. spaces) directly to the workshop organizers. Deadline: February 15th 2017.


Workshop organizers:

Sabine Netz (Free University, Berlin),

Sarah Lempp (Free University, Berlin),

Dr. Kristine Krause (University of Amsterdam),

Berlin Southern Theory Lecture