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Saturday, October 22

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    3:57 pm

Wednesday, October 17

  1. msg Repressive Hypothesis message posted Repressive Hypothesis willil8 wrote: "Repressive Hypotehsis."it sounds like Foucault is implying that there wa…
    Repressive Hypothesis
    willil8 wrote: "Repressive Hypotehsis."it sounds like Foucault is implying that there was some sort of conspiracy by the Catholic church

    I read this discussion more as a description of prevailing modern interpretations of sexuality in Western societies. It seems to me that Foucault is disputing the hypothesis of other historians, sociologists, or philophers of his day that sex is taboo and not to be spoken of in polite company (or anywhere else) and that is somehow the subject of repression by particular actors in the political/social domain. Foucault argues that the contrary was true: talk of sex was everywhere, including inside the walls and procedures of the Catholic (and Protestant) churches. Sexuality was not repressed at all, but a critical tool for the achievement of regulation of the body and of population. Foucault sees the operation of power everywhere, and doesn't see it as emanating from some identifiable source or authority, not even the Catholic Church.

    I don't have my book in front of me, so I can't point to the page. But I found his discussion in the section on rights to life and death interesting. He proposes that discourse on sexuality, among other loci of biopower, has become a tool that we accept without question as necessary to extend life in the face of death. We willingly give up certain freedoms because we are convinced by our discourse that our survival demands it. So it's not a decision by some one authority to allow or disallow sex; it is a node in the operations of power/knowledge where all sorts of different relations and meanings converge to convince us that some particular behavior is best.
    9:39 am

Wednesday, October 3

  1. msg kin message posted kin (deleted)
    8:00 pm

Saturday, September 29

  1. msg Call for Papers - LIVING PROPERTIES message posted Call for Papers - LIVING PROPERTIES This was posted on the STSGrads list so y'all probably already have it but just in case (it seems p…
    Call for Papers - LIVING PROPERTIES
    This was posted on the STSGrads list so y'all probably already have it but just in case (it seems particularly suited to the nature/function of this class....)




    An international workshop organized by

    Jean-Paul Gaudillière (INSERM, Paris), Daniel Kevles (Yale
    University, New Haven),
    Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPIWG, Berlin)

    Berlin, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, May 29th -
    31st, 2008

    Call for papers

    The history of intellectual property has drawn
    increasing attention in the history of science. A vast corpus of
    literature including histories of the political, economic, and legal
    frameworks of innovation, histories of particular technologies,
    histories of specific enterprises and their R&D investments have been
    accumulating in recent decades. This literature has addressed the
    development of the world's patent systems and explored the existence
    of arrangements for intellectual property protection outside the
    patent system such as trade secrets. It has also provided valuable
    information on the norms and understanding of patenting activities
    associated with the production and commercialization of products
    ranging from mechanical devices to therapeutic methods. It has also
    demonstrated that forms of intellectual property are the product of
    fragile compromises that have radically changed through time. Ideas
    of intellectual property and how to protect it have been revealed as
    features of broad systems of political economy, closely connected to
    the production and appropriation of the product itself and expressing
    a variety of means of control, certification and valorization. These
    systems have promoted the establishment of boundaries between private
    and common goods that are both real and historically contested

    Especially important linkages among the worlds of
    science, industry, and law are provided by the history of
    intellectual property protection in living organisms and their parts.
    The patent system of the 19th century, a product of the first
    industrial revolution, was based on the idea that inventions were
    useful creations of processes or of entities that were mechanical or
    chemical in nature. It left many living organisms formally
    unqualified for intellectual property protection: What was the
    utility of a new variety of a fruit or flower? How could an innovator
    define a new breed of sheep in mechanical or chemical terms? Patents,
    as a means of protecting intellectual property in specifically
    identifiable and regularly reproducible inventions, also conflicted
    with ideas concerning the naturalness of plants and animals, their
    variability, the limits of reproducing them identically, , and/or the
    dangers of commercial monopolies on goods such as food or medicines
    essential to the preservation of human life. During the nineteenth
    century and well into the twentieth century, living organisms were
    thus held to be un-patentable.
    Nevertheless, while plant and animal breeders did not use the term
    "intellectual property," they were alive to the concept and they
    devised a variety of arrangements - pricing systems, contracts,
    registries, breed associations, trade secrets - to protect the
    intellectual property in their originations. Patentability first came
    to living organisms - but only asexually reproducible ones -- in the
    United States with the Plant Patent Act, of 1930. Beginning in the
    1960s, a complementary system of plant breeders' rights grew up in
    Europe and elsewhere. Beginning in 1980, the increasing understanding
    of life as specific, manipulated forms of chemistry led to the
    expansion of the biotechnological industries and to the establishment
    around the world of intellectual property protection through patents
    to virtually all living organisms and their parts, save for human
    beings. Patents have become common and normal ways of controlling and
    commercializing the biological entities that figure in the
    laboratory, the nursery, the farm, the factory, and the clinic. All
    these developments and their impacts have begun to receive historical
    attention, but a great deal remains to be learned about
    appropriation, collective ownership and intellectual property
    protection in living organisms and related technologies in food and
    pharmaceutical during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    A long term aim of this workshop is therefore to
    encourage the formation and development of a network of scholars
    actively engaged with the history of innovation and ownership in
    living organisms and related medical and food technologies. Its
    immediate aim is to enlarge our knowledge of the processes by which
    innovations in and bearing on living entities have or have not
    achieved the status of invention and protected intellectual property,
    both through the patent systems of the world and outside them. It is
    essential to historicize our understanding of the changes associated
    with the present world of DNA-based biotechnology and genomics and to
    do so in the different nations and multinational organizations in
    which these changes have occurred. A second aim of the workshop is to
    look at the relationship between these changing forms of
    appropriation and the dynamics of biological research since the
    beginning of the 19th century. Although the question has been barely
    analyzed, it is a reasonable hypothesis that such appropriation has
    played an important role in the history of the life sciences.
    Knowledge and appropriation have often been co-constructed. If our
    ways of conceptualizing, representing, and manipulating life have
    determined the ways in which intellectual property in living goods
    has been defended, the opposite is in all probability also true. The
    maintenance of large collections of plant varieties by horticultural
    firms and governments relate not only to trademarks or certificates
    of innovation, but also to natural history as a way of knowing and to
    breeding as way of producing. In a similar vein, emerging interests
    in the study of metabolic pathways during the 1920s and 1930s were
    nurtured by the research activities of pharmaceutical firms using the
    patentability of chemical processes to control the commercialization
    of vitamins or hormones.

    In order to shed new light on these issues, the workshop
    will focus on how knowledge of and innovations in living organisms
    and related technologies have been realized and how the products
    achieved identification and protection as intellectual property in
    the market place. Four forms of knowledge and innovation will be
    given due consideration: a) natural history and classification with
    its attendant collections, mutual gifts, certificates and trademarks;
    b) the breeding of plants and animals; c) experimental biology (i.e.
    genetic, bacteriology and biochemistry) with its growing ability to
    manipulate and patent "pure" organisms, molecules or metabolic
    pathways; and d) modern biotechnology with its emphasis on sequences,
    broadened intellectual property rights, and upstream control of life

    Case studies - eventually comparative across time and place - are
    especially welcomed. They may investigate various objects, including
    but not limited to:
    the trajectory of a certain type of commodity revealing the interplay
    between different forms of appropriation, i.e. trade secrets, trade
    associations, technical monopolies, trademarks, certificates, and
    public controversies that resulted in significant changes of
    intellectual property laws;
    the legal processes, i.e. patent office deliberations or court cases,
    that have had a pivotal role in the development of jurisprudence
    about intellectual property;
    the activities of academic institutions or private firms involved in
    R&D and in the capture and management of the property rights in the
    the systems of exchange, distribution and collective access such as
    UPOV certification that have historically been juxtaposed with or
    opposed to patents.

    Proposals in the form of an abstract are due November 1st 2007.
    Decisions will be made during the following weeks. Proposals should
    be sent in electronic form to both Daniel J. Kevles at Yale
    ( and Jean-Paul Gaudillière at INSERM
    ( The organizing institutions will cover travel
    costs and accommodation for the invited participants.
    10:11 am