International Conference: POWERS OF LIFE AND DEATH: BIOPOLITICS BEYOND FOUCAULT

POWERS OF LIFE AND DEATH: BIOPOLITICS BEYOND FOUCAULT

International Conference
November 15-16, 2012
Department of Political and Economic Studies
University of Helsinki

The problematic of biopolitics has become increasingly important in the social sciences.
Inaugurated by Michel Foucault’s genealogical research on the governance of sexuality,
crime and mental illness in modern Europe, the research on biopolitics has developed into a broader interdisciplinary orientation, addressing the rationalities of power over
living beings in diverse spatial and temporal contexts.

This conference focuses on the fundamental paradox of biopolitics, the conversion of the positive and productive power of life into the negative power of exclusion and
annihilation. While this conversion of biopolitics into 'thanatopolitics' was noted
already in Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality I, its full implications have been
elaborated in the more recent theories of biopolitics of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto
Esposito and others.

The conference brings together an international group of scholars with diverse
disciplinary backgrounds and approaches to biopolitics in order to address the paradox of biopolitics both theoretically, through logical, hermeneutic and genealogical analysis,
and empirically, focusing on the process of thanatopolitical conversion in a variety of
political regimes: (neo)liberalism, socialism and fascism.

The conference is funded by the Academy of Finland.


PROGRAMME

Thursday, November 15: 13-18
Economicum, Seminar Room 3-4, Arkadiankatu 7

Panel 1: Biopolitics, Violence and Care

13.15 Sergei Prozorov (University of Helsinki): Opening Remarks
13.30 Johanna Oksala (University of Helsinki): State Violence and Biopolitical
Governmentality
14.00 Nick Vaughan-Williams (University of Warwick): EU Border Security Practices and the Figure of the ‘Irregular Migrant’: Biopolitical Governance, Thanatopolitical Writing, Zoopolitical Critique
14.30 Susanna Lindberg (University of Tampere): The Obligatory Gift of Organ Transplants
15.00 Discussion

15.30 Break

Panel 2: Biopolitics beyond Liberalism

15.45 Rolf Frankenberger (Eberhard Karls University Tübingen): Governmentality and the Comparative Analysis of Dictatorships
16.15 Sergei Prozorov (University of Helsinki): Making Bodies: The Biopolitics of
Stalinism
16.45 Artemy Magun (European University at St Petersburg): Death as a Negative Magnitude in the Work of Andrei Platonov
17.15 Discussion

Friday, Nov 16: 9-12
Department of Political and Economic Studies, Lecture Hall, Unioninkatu 37

Panel 3: Post-Foucauldian Perspectives on the Theory and Practice of Biopolitics

09.15 Mika Ojakangas (University of Jyvaskyla): The Pagan Origins of Biopower and
Governmentality
09.45 Simona Rentea (Aberystwyth University): Abstract Life and the Manipulation of the Natural Frame in Contemporary Liberal Biopolitics
10.15 Jemima Repo (University of Helsinki): The Life and Death of Sexuality beyond
Foucault
10.45 Jaakko Ailio (University of Tampere): Liberal Thanatopolitics and the HIV/AIDS
Pandemic
11.15 Discussion

No registration required. For any queries please contact Dr Sergei Prozorov
(sergei.prozorov at helsinki.fi)