York Workshop


Found in Translation: Cosmopolitics and the Value of Biotech

November 3-5, 2016
York University, Toronto


This workshop will explore the constitutional nature of profound biotech change at the fundamental level of constitutional rights and the political structures of individuals and collectives.  We will focus on cosmopolitan and biocapital perspectives on translation, exploring how tacit reliance on certain notions of value, epistemology, and global governance institutions transform, as science and reason travel between lab and market, lab and universities, market and society and vice versa. Another concern is the translation of biocapital and making value out of biomedical research, including its translation from lab to benchmark and benchmark to society, attending to the co-production of moral cosmopolitan worlds. We will engage with how programmes and agendas of restructuring (i.e., austerity, precariousness, growth) as well as new experiments with different publics globally are changing the very institutions of capital including the way certain publics are experimented with and mobilized and research and innovation (R&I) is carried out. We will examine the ways certain cosmopolitan visions and proposals are made and not others, how they compose themselves, and through what kinds of translation, invention and ethical attention (Jasanoff 2016). Finally, we will examine geopolitical translations with links to the cosmopolitan argument: What happens when science and reason travel between different sites and in different parts of the world?  In a conversation about the interfaces between biotech, capital, law and among different sites of knowledge production (i.e., international relations, politics, anthropology, business, geography and STS (science and technology studies)) and innovation, we plan to explore the multiple interfaces as sites where entanglements are also sites of difference where publics, practices, groupings, ideas, valuation processes (i.e., biocapital), values, analytical grammars, overlap and also exceed each other composing links in deliberations that sometimes either produce ethical closures or connections.


This workshop is organized by Anna Agathangelou and co-sponsored by Cosmopolitanism and the Local and York University.

Image credit: Cameron Murray, Jenna Mariash, and Christina Bovinette