Following from the last entry: I should have mentioned the other kind of biocultural studies that’s been getting more & more attention recently: see here, here, and here.

The “Biocultures Manifesto,” which appeared in New Literary History back in 2007, seemed to suggest that it was time for all the work on embodiment, biopolitics (Foucauldian, Agambenian, etc.), and various efforts in science studies and cross-over areas of cognitive science to lead to something fairly radical, and ended with this series of bullet-point “provocative assaults” on received wisdom:

* Science and humanities are incomplete without each other.

* It is untrue that the humanities are the realm of values and the sciences the realm of facts.

* Science isn’t hard and the humanities aren’t soft.


* You can’t fully understand the results of a given data set without knowing the historical, social, cultural, discursive fields surrounding the data.

* Any contemporary research needs more than a cursory background in history and in the history of the concepts it employs.

* You can’t study a subject that is an object.

* You can’t study an object that isn’t a subject.

* Diseases are disease entities.

* If you divide truths in half you get half-truths.

* If you divide knowledge, your knowledge is divided.

* Pain is always in your head because your brain is.

* Nothing human is universal or atemporal.

* Embodiment is necessarily biological, and knowledge is always embodied.

* A fact is a socially produced conclusion.

* Bodies are always cultural and biological.

* Selves today are embodied, biologized, shaped by medical knowledge.

* The body—whose, what, when, where—is always in question.

* The boundary between organic and inorganic is no longer clear.

* Technology has become human; humans have become technologies.

* Patients and experimental subjects are part of the decision-making process.

* Science can be postmodern; postmodernisms can be scientific.

* Biology, as a science, cannot exist outside culture; culture, as a practice, cannot exist outside biology.”

Provocative enough, I guess, but perhaps if they fail to send flames to the sky this might tell us a bit about the received wisdom they are assaulting.

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