Greg Bird is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Cultural Analysis and Social Theory MA Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research in contemporary social and political theory focuses on biopolitics, continental philosophy, the commons, and phenomenology has appeared in articles and chapters in English and Italian. He is engaged in a multiyear project that investigates how the dispositif of the proper operates in capitalism. In Containing Community, he examined the how this dispositif is articulated in the debate about community between Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, and Jean-Luc Nancy (SUNY Press, 2016). His current research explores how the dispositif of the proper is articulated in the biopolitical economy of life. This research ranges from concrete investigations of how “guest” worker programs asymmetrically distribute and appropriate lives to theoretical papers that examine how contemporary biopolitical philosophers address the biopolitical economy of life in their writings.
Steering Committee Members
Penelope Ironstone is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research project, “From Seasonal Flu to Pandemic Influenza: The Cultural Life of a Virus,” was funded by the SSHRC (2008-2011). Her current research examines the emergence of the human microbiome in popular science discourse as a technology (of the self, the body, and of health and medicine) that extends biomedical governance.
Mihnea Panu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is interested in the intersections between governmentality, psychoanalysis, feminism and anti-capitalism. He is the author of Contextualising Family Planning: Truth, Subject and the Other in USA Governing (Palgrave 2009). His most recent book Enjoyment and Submission in Modern Fantasy (Palgrave 2016) is a political psycho-anthropology of the European bourgeois subject. Panu argues that the bourgeois subject is defined by his passionate identification with authority and that, in order to understand the resilience of liberal-capitalist governing apparatuses, we need to analyse their intimate relationship with the obsessive circuits of anxiety and enjoyment of this contemporary bourgeois subject.
Raluca Parvu is an independent academic. Her research interests focus on the processes of identity formation that characterize subjects classified as ‘peripheral'. Using a theoretical framework drawing from post-colonial and de-colonial critique, biopolitics, and post-structuralist critical theory, she maps out the desire flows between core and periphery and their implications for forms of resistance and solidarity; she addresses issues of investment in and resistance to forms of status-quo and the possibilities for decolonial thinking and practice in periphery contexts.
Kenneth C. Werbin is an Associate Professor in the Society, Culture and Environment program and the Program Coordinator for Digital Media and Journalism program at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research on the biopolitical dimensions of surveillance and privacy in journalism, digital and social media, and more broadly communication studies will provide a unique perspective to our workshop. He uses a biopolitical framework to analyze the intersection of the cultures of digital and social media, commodification, and surveillance. His published works examine topics ranging from privacy, digital property, personal information, digital labour, and intelligent use of digital and social media. He has been the recipient of several SSHRC grants, including acting as the principal investigator for an Insight Development Grant called “Auto-biopolitics: privacy, surveillance and self-representational forms of digital media” (2011-2013).
Wilfrid Laurier University Members
Jenna Hennebry is an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and Director of the International Migration Research Centre at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her research portfolio includes comparative studies of migration policy and foreign worker programs with an emphasis on migrant rights and health, migration industries, non-state migration mediation, transnational families, and the role of remittances in development. Amongst her numerous articles, books, chapters, and policy reports, she has been published in the Journal of International Migration and Integration (2016), International Journal of Sociology (2014), and International Migration (2012).
Audra Mitchell is an Associate Professor and CIGI Chair in Global Governance and Ethics at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her research seeks to transform global ethics to respond to emerging ecological and/or technological challenges, including mass extinction, climate change, and space colonization. It draws on a range of disciplines, including international studies, anthropology, philosophy, geography, and science and technology studies.
Alicia Sliwinski is an Associate Professor in Global Studies and the Cultural Analysis and Social Theory MA Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research focuses on the moral economies of humanitarian action and the sociocultural dynamics of post-disaster reconstruction, namely in Central America. She has examined topics relating to the politics of community participation and social inequality, theories of gift and exchange, disaster studies and the political economy of hop in salvational practices. She is currently interested in the new transnational and transformation endeavours of ‘doing good’ based in entrepreneurial values and their relationship to economic solidarity practices and discourses.
Milo Sweedler is an Associate Professor of French and Cultural Analysis & Social Theory at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research interests include narrative cinema, literary criticism and theory, and social and political theories. His first book, The Dismembered Community, was published in 2009 by University of Delaware Press. His eBook on Joshua Oppenheimer’s testimonial documentary on the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66, The Act of Killing, appeared in 2014 from WLU Press under the title The Dialectic of Truth and Fiction. He is currently working on a book-length project on allegories of the end of capitalism in contemporary film.
Margaret Toye is an Associate Professor with the Women and Gender Studies Program where she is presently serving as the Coordinator of the Program. She is also a core member with the M.A. Program in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory. Her research on feminist ethics examines the relationships that exist/could exist between two subjects. Her recent work focuses on relationships that go by the name “love” and examines who/what are considered subjects/objects of love. She is also a co-founder of the international research group “GEXcel Feminist Love Studies Network.” She is also wring on the methodological implications of the recent affective/emotional turn where emotion is not only what is being studies, but how it is being studied.
Charles Wells is an Assistant Professor in the Society, Culture, and Environment program at Wilfrid Laurier University. His interdisciplinary research in contemporary philosophy, architectural studies, and psychoanalysis examines how oppressive power systems function and for ways to resist them. He has addressed this problematic in his book The Subject of Liberation: Zizek, Politics, Psychoanalysis (2014), other publications, conference presentations, and talks. His current biopolitical research exams the relation between suffering, struggle, and life. It will result in a series of articles and his co-written book Life Examined (under contract with Oxford University Press).
Graduate Student Members
Sahver Kuzucuoglu holds a MA in Religion and Culture and is currently completing her second MA in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is acting as one of the organizers for the Techne events this year. She has also worked for many years as an Interpreter/Translator in the settlement of new Canadians in Southern Ontario, fuelled by her passion for volunteerism, community, intercultural dialogue and pluralism.
Jalal Midani is a Masters student in the Cultural Analysis and Social Theory Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is acting as one of the organizers for the Techne events this year and has designed this website.