Technē: Biopolitical Research Group – Wilfrid Laurier University
Activities and research
Technē is an interdisciplinary research group focused on advancing biopolitical research at Wilfrid Laurier University. We are the Canadian branch of a new international network of research centres and laboratories called “Workiteph: Network on Italian Thought and European Philosophies.” We aim to create an intellectual environment in which members can develop and share ideas, conduct research, collaborate, and mobilize and disseminate knowledge. Our group emerges out of a desire to position researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University as core contributors in this international field of research. Our research group will foster international collaborations and scholarly exchanges, provide undergraduate and graduate students with research and training opportunities, build reciprocal relationships across disciplines, and cultivate the development of research networks and tools that are specifically designed to facilitate scholarly work.
Goals and objectives
I. Wide Dissemination of Mobilized Knowledge & Enhanced Public Discourse: This research group will regularly mobilize and disseminate research and enhance public discourse related to biopolitics. In the first year, we have organized a two-day workshop, keynote lecture, lecture for graduate students, and one-day graduate student conference called “The Politics of Life: Rethinking Resistance in the Biopolitical Economy” (March 2-4, 2017).
II. Enhance International Research Networks: This research will work to enhance international research networks. For instance, we intend to use the event to solidify our role as the Canadian branch of our recently establish international research network “Workiteph: Network on Italian Thought and European Philosophies.”
III. Provide Quality Training & Mentoring for Students: We are committed to providing undergraduate and graduate students with high quality training and mentoring. The funding we have obtained this year will be used to support our commitment to making the event accessible and open, as well as providing students with the unique opportunity to experience a number of different facets of scholarly activity. In the longer term, we hope the formalization of our group and research connections will provide even more opportunities for students.
IV. Enhanced Operational Strategies: We intend to continue to seek funding to secure the research group’s position at Wilfrid Laurier University and cultivate its international network. To these ends, we will apply for funding from local, national, and international resources.
Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities & Social Sciences
In recent years, biopolitics has emerged as one of the most cutting-edge fields of inquiry across the humanities and social sciences. This interdisciplinary field of research has produced numerous theoretical concepts, research methods, and analytical tools to study how “life” has become a political object of governmentality to be controlled, manipulated, and transformed.
Biopolitics concerns the management of populations in which life is politicized, and politics is biologized (Esposito). Research ranges from philosophical texts written by leading contemporary philosophers to critically grounded studies of issues such as surveillance, global warming, immigration policy, pandemics and public health, biomedical technology and up to the human genome project.
Given the proliferation of biopolitical debates, such as the biosecurity risks posed by epidemics and pandemics like HIV/AIDS, influenza, Ebola, and Zika, instruments and apparatuses of security such as no-fly lists, management of refugee populations, and the “War on Terror,” trade agreements granting private corporations intellectual property rights over forms of life such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, even bioethical issues related to the right to die or advances in bioengineering, this research collaboration is necessary and important. These and many other issues are of special concern for Canada, and our research group aims to offer valuable contributions to further develop biopolitical theory, contribute to policy, and participate in public debate.
Technē will be composed of members from Wilfrid Laurier University and affiliated members from other external institutions. Initially, the group will be directed by a steering committee and a group coordinator, both to be elected annually. The steering committee will be primarily responsible for applying for grants, organizing workshops, and other scholarly and administrative tasks as they arise. The steering committee shall meet at least twice a year and additional times as the need arises.
· Greg Bird: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Penelope Ironstone: email@example.com
· Audra Mitchell: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mihnea Panu: email@example.com
· Raluca Parvu: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Jenna Hennebry: email@example.com
· Alicia Sliwinski: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Milo Sweedler: email@example.com
· Margaret Toye: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Charles Wells: email@example.com
· Kenneth C. Werbin: firstname.lastname@example.org
WLU Graduate Students
· Sahver Kuzuvuoglu: email@example.com
· Mustafa Nasirzadeh: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Philip Delisle: email@example.com
· Sean Rooney: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Jonathan Short (York University) – email@example.com
· Lorna Weir (York University) – firstname.lastname@example.org
· Philippe Theophanidis – email@example.com
Affiliated Graduate Students
· Justas Patkauskas (Western University) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Steering Committee Members: Greg Bird, Penelope Ironstone, Mihnea Panu, Raluca Parvu, and Kenneth Werbin
Group Coordinator: Greg Bird