Biotechnological Frontiers for Politics and the Life Sciences

Call For Papers

Special Issue On ‘Biotechnological Frontiers

Guest Editors:  Margaret E. Kosal & Amy L. Fletcher

Recent biotechnological innovations raise critical questions of politics, science communication, technology policy, ethics, and governance. The range and spectrum of possible technologies and actors are expanding. Among the most recent addition to the genome-editing arsenal is CRISPR, a bacteria-derived system that is among the simplest genome-editing tools and more efficient than previous DNA editing techniques. Other techniques, like those for chromosome conformation capture, such as Hi-C, facilitate the assembly of an organism’s genome and was recently used with the Zika virus. Better understanding of how these emerging biotechnologies intersect with political entities, institutions, frameworks, and theories is needed.

Papers and extended abstracts are now being accepted on these and related topics for a special themed issue on Biotechnological Frontiers for Politics and the Life Sciences, an interdisciplinary journal published by Cambridge University Press. Papers and extended abstracts accepted for the issue will be published in the journal. Authors will also be invited to present their papers at a workshop to be held at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA) in Fall 2017.

Manuscripts for the special issue may analyze recent biotechnological innovations and their relation to politics from observational, experimental, content analytic, comparative case studies, network analysis, or other empirical frameworks. Empirically-based theoretical work is also welcome. All methodological approaches are welcome. Suitable paper topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Cellular agriculture and the future of food;
  • Gene-editing and its use in human health and medicine;
  • The use of synthetic biology and gene editing in biodiversity conservation;
  • Case studies of controversies arising from the use of these new tools;
  • Comparative analysis of governance and regulatory models, including arms control;
  • Ethical, legal, and social implications of gene-editing and new biotechnologies;
  • Intellectual property issues and patent disputes in the biotechnological sector;
  • The role of the mass media in framing biotechnological issues and innovations;
  • Implications for international, transnational, regional, or national security;
  • Institutional or organizational politics related to innovation of emerging biotechnology;
  • Expert inquiries, public consultation, and legislative initiatives.

Proposals, in the form of extended abstracts, should be at least 1,500 words and include details on methodological approach(es). Contributors submitting full papers should submit original research manuscripts that are 7,500–12,000 words. Initial submission may use any recognized citation style, but final accepted papers must conform to Chicago style.


The deadline for submission of proposals is 15 September 2017. Submitted papers will be blinded reviewed and must not have been published elsewhere. Please submit manuscripts, preferably in MS Word or pdf format, to Guest Editors Drs. Margaret E. Kosal ( and Amy Fletcher ( Queries may be addressed to either guest editor.

[Call for Proposals] 2017 International Conference on Gender in Science & Technology (10/27-28, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)

Dear Researchers,

Gender in Science and Technology (S&T) is a critical interdisciplinary research domain and has become a much-addressed perspective in scientific policy and research in many countries. This year, the Taiwan Gender in Science & Technology project (Taiwan GIST) entrusted by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), organizes the 2017 International Conference on Gender in Science & Technology. We invite all those interested and involved in gender, science and technology policy or research, to exchange views and opinions and establish new networks with peers and other stakeholders in the field of Gender in S&T. Taiwan GIST is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the 2017 International Conference on Gender in Science & Technology, to be held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, October 27th -28th, 2017.

International Invited Speakers:

Dr. Cara Tannenbaum Scientific Director, Institute of Gender and Health at Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada
Dr. Anne Pépin Director, Mission for the Place of Women at Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France
Dr. Heisook Lee Principal Research Fellow, Center for Gendered Innovation in   Science & Technology Researches (GISTeR), Korea
Dr. Alice Hogan Consultant & Former Director of the ADVANCE Program at NSF, USA
Drs. Ineke Buskens Independent Research, Evaluation and Gender Consultant

Conference Theme and Topics:
The conference theme “Gender and Technology Policy & Gendered Innovations" includes, and is not limited to, the following topics:

  1. Gender equality policy for the S&T fields in education, academia, and more
  2. Implementation of projects or measures to promote institutional changes or culture shifts in a specific community or profession
  3. The process and results of integrating methods and knowledge from gender studies into S&T knowledge production and innovation
  4. Other topics related to gender and S&T

Presentation Options:

  1. Oral presentation
  2. Poster
  3. Self-organized session (3-5 papers each, session duration: 90 min.)

Proposal Submission:

  1. Deadline of submission: May 31st 23:59 (GMT+8), 2017.
  2. To submit the proposal, please click here, Max. length of submitted proposals (abstracts required) is 300 words.
  3. Acceptance Notification is scheduled to be sent out by June 30th, 2017 via email. Official announcement will also be made on the conference website.


  1. Conference registration will be opened on-line on July 5th, 2017. Click here
  2. All presenters must register to be included in the program. For papers with more than one author, at least one presenter must register.

Conference Venue:
International Building, National Sun Yat-Sen University (No. 70, Lienhai Rd., Kaohsiung, TAIWAN)

Important Dates:
Deadline for submissions of proposals            May 31st
Acceptance Notification                                 Before June 30th
Registration Opens                                         July 5th
Registration Closes                                        August 15th
Conference Dates                                          October 27th-28th

Contact Information:
Tel: +886-7-7172930 #2010 (Ms. Hsu); #2017 (Ms. Lu)

Taiwan GIST; Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering (& Science Technology and Society Research Center), National Kaohsiung Marine University; Graduate Institute of Gender Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University

Institute of Public Affairs Management, National Sun Yat-Sen University; Institute of Information Systems and Applications, National Tsing Hua University

Ministry of Science and Technology, R.O.C. (confirmed); Education Bureau, Kaohsiung City Government (to be confirmed); Economic Development Bureau, Kaohsiung City Government (to be confirmed)

Read more about the conference

Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology & Science

WHEATS 2017: Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology & Science

October 13-15, 2017

University at Albany, History Department, Albany, NY

The University at Albany History Department is pleased to be hosting WHEATS in Fall 2017. The Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS) brings together graduate students studying the history of the environment, agriculture, science, or technology. WHEATS is open to submissions from any discipline with interests in these fields. Papers — generally 25-30 pages — are circulated in advance to all participants, and at the workshop papers receive feedback from participants and senior scholars through a roundtable discussion. This format is well suited for works in progress, and the workshop will have sessions on professional development as well as opportunities to meet and engage members of the broader academic community.

Due to logistical constraints, papers must be in English.

The University at Albany will provide housing, food, and some funding to help defray travel costs for participants.

Potential participants should submit a one-page abstract (200 words) and a short curriculum vitae by May 1, 2017.  All submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail and applicants will be notified of acceptance by June 1, 2017.  Applicants should note their year of graduate study or Ph.D. completion date. Accepted papers will be due September 10, 2017.

WHEATS 2017 is generously supported by the Agricultural History Society (AHS) and the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT).

For further information, contact:

Tinamarie Peabody

or visit our website:

Send submissions to:

Call for papers: History of Science in India Symposium, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand, April 19-20 2017

Dear Colleagues,
I'm delighted to announce the upcoming international symposium "History of Science in India" which will take place April 19-20th 2017, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (see attached poster and url below).

The streams in this two-day event will include (but are not limited to) history of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and technology with three keynote speakers from India:
  • Prof Ramasubramanian (IIT Bombay; history of mathematics),
  • Prof Sriram (IIT Madras; history of astronomy), and
  • Prof Rama Jayasundar (Cambridge educated medical surgeon at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; history of Ayurvedic medicine).
Registration is free but essential.  To register, or to send a title and abstract for consideration, please email me
by Friday March 17th.
Following the symposium, a 5-day workshop is planned which will mix emerging and experienced researchers to reflect  on methodology in the History of Science in Sanskrit Sources, including manuscriptology, paleography, critical editing, translation issues,  technical commentary writing, and digital humanities resources.  Please email me to register your interest for this.
This symposium is supported by a generous grant from the New Zealand India Research Institute.

ANZSHM 15th Biennial Conference – Health, Medicine, and Society: Challenge and Change

Notification and Call for Papers for the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine’s 15th Biennial Conference, in Melbourne, July 2017.

We feel that postgraduate students in health sciences and history may be interested in attending. Travel grants are available to PG students via a competitive process. There’s also a prize for the best paper by a student. 

Abstract submissions close on Feb 20. Expression of interest may be made via the conference website (weblink below). Feel free to circulate the notices to anyone you think may be interested in attending.

Many thanks

Madonna Grehan

ANZSHM 15th Biennial Conference - Health, Medicine, and Society: Challenge and Change

11-14 July 2017, Witness Seminar 15 July  |  ACU Melbourne (Fitzroy Campus)

Tel: +61 3 9484 8076  |  Mob:  0428 220 520

Notice of conference [PDF]

MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar May 17th – 24th, 2017

image001image002A Century of Engineering Life: Cells and Organisms

Application Deadline: February 1, 2017

Discussion of the possible wonders—and horrors—of gene editing with technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 fill both the popular and scientific press. Gene editing involves the precise excision and replacement of specific genes. This certainly offers unprecedented potential both for experimentally altering organisms for research and also for curing genetic diseases through replacing abnormal genes with their normal counterparts, a kind of targeted eugenics.

These modern efforts are only the latest attempts to engineer life in the laboratory for the benefit of both society and science. Around 1900 scientists such as Jacques Loeb, working at the Marine Biological Laboratory, embraced the increasingly experimental emphasis in embryology. Armed with a staunchly mechanistic view of life, Loeb sought to engineer living organisms in order to understand them.  In historian Philip J. Pauly’s term, Loeb’s goal was to employ the engineering ideal with the aim of Controlling Life. Today at the MBL, Loeb casts a long shadow and remains literally central to the Laboratory because the impressive Loeb Building houses research and the star-studded education courses. The kinds of research Loeb and his MBL colleague Thomas Hunt Morgan carried out on regenerative biology finds its home in the Eugene Bell Center across the MBL courtyard. Bell was fascinated with ways that cellular engineering can help regenerate lost tissue.

Both types of research offer approaches to engineering life. Both raised questions about how much deviation from the typical is still “normal” or acceptable.

Herman Muller showed that radiation can induce mutations, further blurring lines between pathology and novelty. Later, the invention of recombinant DNA technologies introduced “genetic engineering.” In vitro fertilization engineered eggs and embryos in ways that later informed cloning and stem cell manipulations. Today, Craig Venter and George Church want to create almost new organisms by dispensing with manipulation of single genes in favor of fully synthetic genomes. Others are using engineered cells therapeutically, or combining cells with nonliving materials to create replacement tissues or organs or parts for implantation in the body, while “synthetic biologists” try to reverse-engineer cells to learn how they work or turn them into living factories.

The 2017 MBL-ASU History of Biology Seminar [ engineering-life-cells-and-organisms] will look at the history of engineering life by bringing together a mix of historians, philosophers, social scientists, and biologists for a lively and intense week of presentations, discussions, and explorations. The focus will be on engineering cells and organisms, with a follow-up seminar in 2018 to consider the engineering of populations, evolution, and the environments. This year we will ask what motivated the desire to engineer life, what techniques have been involved, who has been doing that work, where, how, and why? How have social, ethical, economic, and political factors shaped or controlled scientific research programs?  Where are we now, and what does it take to have informed and reflective responses to the latest efforts to synthesize life or manipulate genes and genomes to achieve some stated goal. What happens when we learn, or do, more than we planned?


The World in 2050: Imagining and Creating Just Climate Futures

A call for papers

We invite presentations of all kinds on the theme of “The World in 2050: Imagining and Creating Just Climate Futures” for an online, nearly carbon-neutral conference (described below) that will take place from October 24 to November 14, 2016. Coordinated by UC Santa Barbara, this conference is part of a series of events on “Climate Futures: This Changes Everything” []

The most pressing existential issue of the 21st century for humanity as a whole is the increasingly grim reality of climate change and our entry into a new era in the history of humans and the planet well signified by the Anthropocene. The changing conditions of life on Earth lie at the center of a storm of interconnected crises which include, among others, the precarity of the global economy, a widening deficit of political legitimacy, and cultures scarred by violence, from the most intimate interpersonal interactions to the most global realities of war-making.

Unlike either the justifiably pessimistic critical discussions or the unrealistically optimistic policy approaches that increasingly confront (or ignore) each other around the climate crisis, this conference will depart from our present ground zero by asking participants to experiment with perspectives on the multiple possible states of the world in mid-century and work back toward the present in an attempt to imagine, envision, enable, and collaboratively find or create some of the pathways to a more just – or just less worse – outcome for humanity by 2050.

Please note that this will be a nearly carbon-neutral conference. We believe that a conference that takes up the issue of climate change while simultaneously contributing to the problem to such a degree is simply unconscionable. Even a relatively small academic conference can generate the equivalent of 20,000 pounds or more of CO2 (chiefly from travel). To put that number in perspective, this is the total annual carbon footprint of ten people living in India, thirty-three in Kenya.

Consequently, this conference will largely occur online. Over a period of three weeks, starting on October 24 and running through November 10, accepted talks and other events will be available for viewing on the conference website. Q&A will also take place online during this period, as participants and registered attendees will be able to connect with speakers and each other via online comments and speakers will be able to reply in the same way. Both the talks and Q&A sessions will remain up on the website as a permanent archive of the event.

A conference using this format was staged at UC Santa Barbara in May of 2016. As that conference’s website [] contains a complete archive of the event, please visit it if you would like to see how this conference will work. In particular, the opening remarks and the accompanying Q&A session [] help explain the rationale for this approach while also demonstrating it.

While we realize that this will not replicate the face-to-face interaction of a conventional conference talk and Q&A, we believe that it will nonetheless promote lively discussion, as well as help build a community of scholars and activists with intersecting research interests and hopes for the world. An advantage to this approach is that individuals who would not otherwise be able to become involved in the conference owing to distance, daily life, or financial constraints will be able to fully take part. There will be no registration fee for the conference. Although this online conference will have its own carbon footprint, as data centers and web activity also require energy, we expect that this will be only a small fraction of that of a conventional conference, likely just 1-3%.

Instead of traveling to the conference to attend panels and deliver a talk, speakers agree to do the following:

  1. Film yourself (or yourself with others) giving a talk of 15-17 minutes. The webcams that come with desktop and laptop computers have improved dramatically over the past few years. Aftermarket webcams with noise cancelling microphones, which can be purchased for under $50, often provide even better quality. It is also the case that most computers have video recording software preinstalled, such as Apple’s QuickTime. Consequently, it is now possible, and relatively easy, to record a talk of surprisingly good quality in your home, office, or just about anywhere. How easy is it and how good is the quality? A sample talk that explains the concept and process in detail can be found here:
  2. Take part in your three-week online Q&A session by responding to questions raised by your talk. You will automatically receive an email each time a new question is posed. Only registered conference participants (this includes speakers, as well as others who register for the conference) will be posing questions.
  3. View as many of the talks as possible, posing questions of your own to speakers. This is especially important, as this is how you will meet and interact with other conference participants. Given the subject matter, our goal is help establish relationships and to build a community. In this case, since travel has been removed from the equation, our hope is that this community will be diverse and truly global.

Abstracts of 250 words and a brief biographical note of about 150 words should be submitted as one document [Word or pdf, only please] by August 15 and attached in a single e-mail copied to both of the following e-mail addresses: conference co-organizer John Foran – and our conference assistant Rick Thomas –

We welcome all international submissions if the talks themselves can be either in English or subtitled (see below) in English. The Q&A will be in English. You should also please confirm that you have viewed the sample video and agree both to the above conference requirements and to allow your filmed talk to be posted to the conference website, as well as our Vimeo, YouTube, and SoundCloud accounts. As noted above, the talks will become part of a permanent conference archive open to the public.

Amara provides free closed captioning software that allows anyone to caption videos. As they note on their website, Amara makes it “incredibly easy (and free) to caption and translate your videos…. Amara is built by a nonprofit, 501c3 organization. We are driven by the mission to reduce barriers to communication and foster a more democratic media ecosystem.” Because it does not require a steep learning curve, Amara can generally be quickly learned. Since our goal is to have a conference that is accessible as possible, please consider using Amara to add closed captioning to your talk or have someone (perhaps a student intern or a tech-savvy friend) do it for you. If you will not be able to closed caption your talk, please note this when submitting your abstract.

Abstracts are due by Monday, August 15, 2016.

Participants will be informed whether their submissions have been accepted or not by Monday, August 29, 2016.

Videos of the talks will be due by Monday, October 10, 2016.

The online conference will take place from Monday, October 24 to Monday, November 14, 2016.

Please send any questions to conference co-organizers John Foran – and Ken Hiltner –

Please feel free to be as creative as you like in your proposals – we look forward to seeing them!

Call for abstracts: The science of evolution and the evolution of the sciences

We invite submissions for papers to be presented at a two-day conference on The science of evolution and the evolution of the sciences, which will be held in Leuven, Belgium on the 12th and 13th October 2016.

Submissions should take the form of a 500-word abstract. Submissions on any aspect of the evolution of scientific theories are welcome, but contributions with a clear link to digital humanities are especially encouraged.

Aims and scope of the conference:

One of the longstanding debates in history and philosophy of science concerns how the sciences develop. Thomas Kuhn famously emphasized the role of scientific revolutions and so-called paradigm shifts. Other philosophers, including Karl Popper and David Hull, have offered a Darwinian account of the process of science. In their view, scientists create conjectures about the way the world works, and these conjectures undergo a process of selection as they are tested against the world. This is analogized with biological evolution: mutation and recombination creates novelty in the biological world, which then undergoes natural selection, driving adaptive evolution. In this conference, we will reexamine these ideas using new tools from cultural evolutionary theory and the digital humanities.

This conference explores recent attempts to move beyond mere qualitative theorizing about scientific cultures and their evolution and centers on the the question of the extent to which we can make quantitative predictions, extract quantitative data, or build quantitative models of and about scientific evolution over time. In addition to numerical models of cultural evolution drawn from the evolutionary sciences, quantitative data are also being extracted in the digital humanities. Cultural products like academic journal articles can be algorithmically mined in order to understand this body of work in a new light, offering data to help test hypothesis about scientific changes. By bringing together researchers with a common interest but with different disciplinary backgrounds and toolboxes, we hope to inspire cross-fertilization and new collaborations.

Questions addressed at this conference include:

  *  What novel predictions do Darwinian accounts of science offer?

  *  How can we test these predictions?

  *  Can new work in the digital humanities, such as the automated mining and analysis of the scientific literature, shed light on Darwinian accounts of science?

  *  Do formal evolutionary models or (quantitative) textual analyses permit a systematic approach to empirical issues in the realism-instrumentalism debate?

Keynote speakers:

Charles Pence (Louisiana State University)

Kimmo Eriksson (Mälardalen University and Stockholm University)

Mia Ridge (British Library)

Simon DeDeo (Indiana University & the Santa Fe Institute)

Abstracts must be received no later than June 7. Inquiries and abstracts should be directed to the conference organizers, Andreas De Block and Grant Ramsey, at the following addresses: and 

The conference receives financial support from the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven) and the FWO (Flemish Research Council). 


Grant Ramsey

+1 574.344.0284