Foucault Madness Conference 2015

Bio-power(ful) Cloud-Bodies

Host: Foucault Madness Collective

Date: Saturday, September 26th, 2015.

Location: The Historic Thibodo House (1150 Lupine Hills Drive, Vista, CA)

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jack Halberstam

The Foucault Madness Conference is back for a second year! This year’s theme brings into critical light how current norms of cyber-based speech-acts create new technologies of selfhood.  Many early, and utopian, post-structural theorists of cyberspace, such as Donna Haraway (“A Cyborg Manifesto”), surmised that digital disembodiment might mean greater liberation from the categorizing limits of race, class, and gender.

However, recent events indicate that pure dis-embodiment has not been realized. In fact, the embodied world has been in a dialectical relationship with cyberspace.  This relationship is being manifested through varying and widespread occurrences: Gamergate, doxxing threats, the new men’s rights movements, thinspiration. As such, we understand that new forms of gendered aggression and violence are an interplay between both realms of the physical and cyber. In a Foucaultian sense, what are the effects of routing our increasingly post-biological identities into entirely observed data-spaces?

This conference seeks to understand which embodied notions of selfhood have been further re-inscribed through the uncritical participation in cloud-based, “big data” technologies; and, conversely, what are the possibilities for resistance in using these technologies to challenge hegemonic forms of embodiment? Thus, the conference theme recognizes the way that cyberspace is not about pure disembodiment at this point; cyberspace produces new regimes of truth, a third site, that directly affects “real life” corporeality.

The conference solicits a wide range of papers that address the current ways internet technologies (such as social media, mmorgs, cyber communities, communication boards, etc.) directly inform: feminism, gendered norms, activism, trans and queer politics, heteronormativity, post biological colonialism, body politics, community justice, personal relationships, fields of affect, etc.

We are seeking papers from Professors or experts in the field, graduate students, and advanced undergrads. Academic disciplines and methodologies across the humanities and social sciences may be used. Research questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the role of rape speech and/or doxxing as a method of constructing the internet as an exclusively male controlled space (Anita Sarkeesian, for example)?
  • What are the real possibilities for the subaltern to speak in this new public space, given the “digital divide” and the normative, neoliberal design of the internet?
  • What are the legal implications of the collapse between the private and public into a merged space?
  • What are the modern norms of surveillance that may be going unnoticed online, and who benefits?
  • Does turning the surveillance on the perpetrator engender positive change or reinforce surveillance as hegemony and/or Truth?
  • What are the potentials of hactivism and cyber-anarchy (for example, Anonymous)?
  • How has the internet affected activism, particularly in regards to race, class, and gender?
  • How has web-based social networking affected the goals and practices of feminism and trans politics?
  • How is the human body as political site altered by social networking, including “safe spaces” of reprieve (pro-ana, thinspiration, self-branding)?
  • What are the effects of the New Men’s Rights Movement, including pick-up artist, and misogynist communities?
  • How does cyberspace reconfigure the problem of alienation and anomie?
  • How are new cloud body norms, such as neoteny, kawaii, and cuteness reinforced or subverted through cyber representations, photographic angles, the use of “cutsie” avatars and design, etc.?
  • How do male gamer communities reinforce paranoid/neurotic masculinities based around the fear of women (Zoe Quinn, for example)?
  • What role do internet White Knights play in the re-creation of traditional norms of masculinity, where women require protection?
  • How is the policing and norming of marginalized bodies represented in MMORGs and internet spaces?
  • How does the cloud affect our relationship to death, heroism, and significance (cosplay, LARPing)?


Please NOTE: The emphasis of this conference, apart from the conference theme and quality scholarship, is the role of mentorship and networking. As such, the panels will consist of a similar theme addressed by three speakers: (1) Professor, (2) Grad Student, and (3) Undergrad.

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