‘Mediated Bodies’, International conference, 14-16 September 2006, Faculty of Arts and Culture, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
There is no object of scientific investigation that is as difficult to consider a ‘mere’ object as the human body. People do not merely ‘have’ but ‘are’ their bodies. Accordingly, there is a strong mutual relationship between scientific, esp. medical conceptions and practices and the constitution and experience of the body in other cultural domains (i.e. religion, philosophy, are, popular culture etc.) and in every day life. The visualisation of the body’s interior is particularly significant as it renders available what is both very nearby and inaccessible in daily experience. The way the body is dealt with, cared for, used, or sensed changes with how its interiority and boundaries are conceived of and vice versa. Therefore, the early modern body might be very different from that of the 21st century and the body in African medical practice might bear little resemblance to the corporeal object of European or American biomedicine. Bodily realities and experiences are produced as much as they are discovered and expressed in the interplay of mediating discourses and practice. Medical visualisation technologies are at the heart of this interplay.
The conference centers around the question of how (medical and/or technological) visualisations of the body interact with other discourses and practices in the mediation of human bodies. This question is explored in 7 successive sessions, each dealing with specific visualisations of bodies and with particular historical or cultural contexts. For each of these sessions there is still place for several papers of 20 minutes. (You can find a description of the sessions in the attachment).