Conference: Biotechnology, Culture, and the Body
April 24 - 26, 1997

The conference Biotechnology, Culture, and the Body was held April 24 - 26, 1997 in Curtin Hall 175 on the first two days and at the UWM Hefter Center on April 26. The conference examined the social and cultural ramifications of reproductive technologies and end-of-life technologies. Scholars from anthropology, cultural and literary studies, history, film, bioethics, and medicine addressed how new and emerging medical technologies were recasting the central debates in society about the authority of scientific medicine, the personal and political control of the body, and the appropriate relationships between technology, natural processes, and social life. Many of the papers presented at the conference were later developed in the book Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics (2000), edited by Paul Brodwin.

Angela Wall (UWM)

April 24, 1997  

1 pm



Welcome and Introduction

Marshall Goodman
Dean, College of Letters and Science, UWM
Kathleen Woodward
Center Director
1:15 - 3:15 pm Reproductive Technologies (I)

Thomas Laquerur
"From Generation to Generation: Connections in the Age of Reproductive Technology"
Susan Squier (Penn State)
"Life and Death at Strangeways: The Tissue Culture Point of View"
Chair: Paul Brodwin (UWM)
3:15 - 3:45 pm Coffee Break
3:45 - 5:30 pm Deborah Grayson (Rochester)
"Mediating Intimacy: Black Surrogate Mothers and the Law"
Mary Mahowald (Chicago)
"Genetics and Women's Bodies"
Chair: Jane Gallop (UWM)
5:30 pm Reception and Screening of Gillian Goslinga's
The Child the Stork Brought Home (1997)
7:00 pm Alice Wexler (UCLA)
"Choreographing Fate: The Dancing Body of Huntington's Disease"
Introduction: Kathleen Woodward (UWM)

Susan Squier (Penn State) and Donald Joralemon (Smith)

April 25, 1997  

9:00 - 10:45 am




Reproductive Technologies (II)

Robert M. Nelson (Medical College of Wisconsin)
"The Ventilator/Baby as Cyborg: A Case Study in Technology and Medical Ethics"
Janelle Taylor (Chicago)
"An All-Consuming Experience: Obstetrical Ultrasound and the Commodification of Pregnancy"
Chair: Karen Riggs (UWM)

10:45 - 11:15 am Coffee Break
11:15 - 1:00 pm Angela Wall (Georgia Institute of Technology)
"Mothers, Monsters, and Family Values: Protocols of Pregnancy and Older Women"
Gillian Goslinga (UC-Santa Cruz)
"Body Boundaries: Fiction of the Female Self"
Chair: Pamela Gilbert (UW-Parkside)
1:00 - 2:00 pm Lunch at UWM Library Conference Center

2:00 - 3:45 pm




End-of-Life Technologies

Donald Joralemon (Smith)
"Organ Procurement and the Free Marketers"
Richard Doyle (Penn State)
"On Beyond Living: Cryonics, Comas, and Other Post-Vital Bodies"
Chair: Sarah Davies Cordova (Marquette)

3:45 - 4:15 pm Coffee Break
4:15 - 6:00 pm Hannah Landecker (MIT)
"Seeking Cellvation (TM): Tissue Culture, HeLa Cells, and Immortality"
Eric Avery (Texas Medical Branch, Galveston)
"Boundary Crossing: Medicine, Art, and Liminal Spaces"
Chair: Ellen McCallum (UWM)

Karen Riggs (UWM)

April 26, 1997  

9:00 - 10:45 am




Images of the Body, Maps of Identity

Lisa Cartwright (Rochester)
"The Public Lives of Digital Cadavers: A Cultural Anatomy of the
National Library of Medicine's Visible Human Project"

Thomas Csordas (Case Western Reserve)
"Computerized Cadavers: A Slice of Life in Virtual Reality"
Chair: William Van Pelt (UWM)

10:45 - 11:15 am Coffee Break
11:15 - 12:00 pm

José Van Dijck (Limburg, The Netherlands)
"Images of Biophoria: The Human Genome Metaphors"
Chair: Sandra Soo Jin Lee (Rockefeller Fellow, UWM)

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch at the Hefter Center

1:00 - 3:15 pm




The Globalization of Medical Technologies: Colonialism and Transnational Culture

Patricia Marshall (Loyola)
"Kidney Transplantation in India: Negotiating a Moral Economy of Suffering"
Panivong Norindr (UWM)
"The Art of French Topical Medicine"
Paul Brodwin (UWM)
"The Rhetoric of Medical Power in the Haitian Diaspora"
Chair: Caroline Seymour-Jorn (UWM)

3:15 - 3:45 pm Coffee Break

3:45 - 5:30 pm




Biotechnology and the Disciplines: Anthropology, Feminist Theory, and Science

Michael M. J. Fischer (MIT)
Helen Longino (Minnesota)
Chair: Paul Brodwin (UWM)

Paul Brodwin (UWM)

Conference Organizer: Paul Brodwin
Conference Coordinator: Carol Tennessen

Janelle Taylor (Chicago)


1968: The Center's Founding

The 1970s: Film, Performance, Language and Technology

The 1980s: Feminism, Modernism and Culture

The 1990s: Culture, Aesthetics, Aging and Animals

2000 to present




Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies / University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA
tel: 414-229-4141; fax: 414-229-5964; email:



  Last updated 3/19/09 by DSC