June 2018

Symposium 7th & 8th June – Reproduction in the Asia-Pacific.

Speakers: TBC. 

The aim of the symposium is to discuss some of the lat est work being done across our region  in the social science of reproduction and collaborate towards the development of an Asia –Pacific network of anthropologists, sociologists, ethicists and other social scientists working in the field of reproduction. How can understanding of reproduction and family formation be enriched and informed by teams working across the Asia Pacific?The symposium will provide an opportunity for discussion around the common question of reproduction in a format that encourages cross-fertilisation of the disciplines and encourage networking. It coincides with the visit of Professor Marcia Inhorn (Yale University) to the Health and Biofutures Focus Program.

International roundtable event at Prato Campus, 11 & 12th June – Making Biofutures: Anticipating the futures of biomedicine, healthcare, and life itself

This roundtable event will provide an opportunity for leading scholars in the
fields of STS, sociology, anthropology and bioethics to explore how human health and the production of human life are being transformed, and address related
socio-ethical and public policy questions. The workshop will provide the
opportunity to reflect on the biofutures that are likely to materialise, to anticipate
the potential tensions and opportunities within these futures.

Psychedelic Entanglements: An interdisciplinary exploration of psychedelics, science & drug-use – Friday 22nd June

Speakers: Prof. Wendy Kline, Assoc. Prof. Olivia Carter, Dr. Chris Letheby, Dr. Adrian Farrugia. 

Chaired by Professor Lenore Manderson. 

Psychedelics – usually associated with 1960s countercultures – are making a comeback. The possibility that psychedelics may offer new, much needed treatments for mood disorders and addiction has prompted a surge in scientific research and clinical trials. This symposium explores the historical, philosophical and social dimensions of this renewed interest in psychedelic drugs. The event will explore histories of research into psychedelics, and insights into consciousness that are emerging in contemporary research. Speakers will also explore the philosophical issues raised by mystical experiences in psychedelic therapies, and the perspectives of contemporary recreational drug consumers.

When: 10am – 4pm.

Where: at Monash Club, Monash University (Clayton Campus), Melbourne.

March 2018

Seminar – The importance of stakeholder involvement and media framing in global health policy debates about NCDs

Dr Shona Hilton

For the first time in history non-communicable diseases (NCDs) now pose a greater global health burden than communicable infectious diseases and the media play a crucial role in framing public and policy debates about the causes of, and solutions to, NCDs. While the literature suggests that media debates should be a key concern for those interested in understanding public health policy processes, as yet there has been only limited research in this area.  In politically-contested health policy debates, stakeholders often seek to engage the media to communicate arguments to the public for or against specific policy initiatives, consistent with their underlying interests.  This seminar presents the findings from a scoping review on media representations of industries that contribute to NCD risk and provides evidence from the UK health policy debates on sugar-sweetened beverage taxation and minimum unit pricing for alcohol to highlight how stakeholders’ engage with the media to shape public and political opinion.  This complex inter-dependency between the strategies used by stakeholders to influence global health debates and framing of evidence in media policy debates is poorly understood yet is crucial to understand if we are to tackle how the global producers and marketers of unhealthy commodities employ the media to directly lobby the public and set the policy agenda.

8 March 2-4 pm N402, 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

February 2018

Seminar – Personalised Medicine in the Digital Era

Barbara Prainsack, Professor for Critical Policy Analysis, University of Vienna

The idea of personalisation in medicine is not new. What has changed in recent years, however, are the types and volume of data that are used to measure and represent patients. Molecular and digital data have often replaced narrative, sensory and experiential evidence in this process. This development does not only raise new ethical and regulatory questions, but it challenges the very categories in which we have been used to pose them. For example, what does “evidence-based medicine” mean when every person is seen as a unique configuration of health and disease? What does patient autonomy mean in a context where choosing to opt out of (self-)surveillance may be formally possible but would result in the loss of access to certain services? And what is the meaning of patient empowerment in a situation where those who are the most informed and the most active are regularly giving the greatest amount of personal information into the hands of powerful corporations? With reference to my new book: “Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? (NYU Press, 2017: I will address a number of challenges (and opportunities) that have not received sufficient attention in the debate on personalised medicine in the digital era.

When: Thu 22 Feb 2018 14:00 – 16:00 (2-4pm), Where: Elizabeth Burchill Seminar Room Arts-E561 Seminar CL_20Chn (map)

November 2017

Seminar – Chemsex: a case for gay analysis

Associate Professor Kane Race presents work from his new book The Gay Science: intimate experiments with the problem of HIV. The paper problematises the conceptualisation of chemsex by investigating its emergence, parameters, presumptions and particular exclusions. Reading the recent documentary Chemsex (2015, dir. Fairman & Gogarty) and related discourses from the UK, Race suggests that chemsex discourse demonstrates that (i) normative morality needs it monsters, and (ii) it has recently been trying its best to make monsters out of sexually-active gay drug users.

Elizabeth Burchill Room E561, 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

Friday 3 November 2017, 2-4pm

Kane Race seminar flyer

October 2017

Roundtable – Regulating Reproductive Frontiers

In this workshop, questions about the legitimacy of regulating reproduction are addressed through considering cutting edge technologies in the field of reproductive medicine, such as IVF, PGD and PGS, prenatal screening, mitochondrial replacement therapy, and the donation of reproductive tissues. This workshop takes an interdisciplinary approach to these issues, and involves scholars from across the fields of philosophy, bioethics, and law.

Confirmed speakers:  Prof. Bonnie Steinbock (Albany); Dr Karinne Ludlow (Monash); Assoc. Prof Ainsley Newson (Sydney); Prof. Anita Stuhmcke (UTS); Dr Michelle Taylor-Sands (Melb); Dr Ryan Tonkens (Monash).

Room S8.01 & S8.02, Building S, Caulfield Campus, Monash University

Monday 30 October, 9:40am-4:30pm.


Seminar – Breast cancer screening, the welfare state and biomedicalization

Associate Professor Marit Solbjør, Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology will present a paper on her research into cancer screening. This paper will explore whether and how the biomedicalization hypothesis is relevant for breast cancer screening in a welfare state context, exemplified though the case of Norway.

N402 Menzies Building, Clayton Campus, Monash University

Thursday 26 October 2017, 2-3pm

Full abstract and bio here.


September 2017

Nexus Symposium – Pandemic narratives: Plague, condoms and immunopolitics

This session brings together three distinguished speakers (see attached flyer for abstracts and presenter bios):

  • Professor John Henderson – Death in Florence: Narrating plague in early modern Tuscany
  • Dr Patrick Spedding – Profilaxis and Poetry: Tracing the history and use of condoms in satiric poetry of the early eighteenth century
  • Associate Professor Mark Davis – Immunopolitics in pandemic narratives

Elizabeth Burchill Room E561, 20 Chancellors Walk, Clayton Campus

Thursday 28 September 2017, 1-4pm

Pandemic narratives Nexus symposium flyer


August 2017

Seminar – HIV biopolitical materialities after effective treatment and prevention

A recent news article (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 July 2016) carried the headline, “AIDS epidemic no longer a public health issue in Australia, scientists say.” The ABC Online article made reference to the “miraculous” change in AIDS due to HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs) and depicted the pharmaceutical treatment as a “game changer allowing someone to live a long and healthy life.” Not explored is just who is this “someone,” a story-telling approach which glosses over questions of treatment access and the variability in individual responses to ARVs. Is the “someone” of a pharmaceutically-managed HIV pandemic idealised and normalised: a person with HIV infection and without AIDS, but otherwise undifferentiated? While our current situation might be the end of AIDS as a biomedical problem for many, the biopolitical challenges of HIV have taken on new form and force in the lives of people affected by the pandemic. In this seminar, scholars working on HIV in the United States, South Africa, and Australia share perspectives on HIV policy making and together address the question of what kinds of biopolitics and material possibilities come into being in end of AIDS discourse.

Bronwen Lichtenstein is professor of sociology in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at The University of Alabama, USA. With the support of grant funding from the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Dr Lichtenstein has formed a community-based partnership to provide HIV education to correctional officers, HIV services to probationers and parolees, and training for undergraduate students to facilitate testing in high impact areas. Professor Bronwen is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Health and Biofutures Focus Program.

Dr Kiran Pienaar 
is a Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. Her research focusses on the biopolitics of health and medicine (with a particular interest in ontologies of disease); gender, sexuality and the body; and social studies of drug consumption.

Clayton Campus, Monash University, Menzies Building, Room N402

30 August 2-4pm.

HIV seminar flyer


Symposium – Neurosocieties Symposium: The Brain, Culture & Ethics

This introductory event was the first of what we hope will be many ‘neuroscience and culture’ events organised by The Neurosocieties Group at Monash.

It included a series of keynote presentations and roundtables to stimulate discussion on the cultural and ethical dimensions of neuroscience research, & to provide networking opportunities to facilitate future research projects and collaborations. Chaired by Professor Lenore Manderson (University of the Witwatersrand, Brown University). Keynote speakers included: Rozanna Lilley, Cynthia Forlini, and Greg Downey.

Monash Club, Clayton Campus, Monash University

25 August 2017

Download a report of the Brain, Culture & Ethics Symposium


Symposium – Biomedical Futures Symposium: Cultural Economies of Precision Medicine

This symposium is designed to consider the social, economic, and ethical dimensions of precision medicine, the envisaged transformation in the nature of the contemporary patient experience and the broader implications of precision medicine for issues related to health justice, distinctions between sick and well, empowerment, illness classification and population segmentation.

Papers include:

  • Sociologies of Precision Medicine – Alan Petersen
  • Imaginaries of health and wealth: Accelerating innovation of advanced medicines in the UK – John Gardner

Staff Common Room, Level 2 UNSW Law School, Union Road, Sydney

17-18 August 2017


Roundtable – More harm than good? Research on the factors underpinning growth in testing, diagnosis and treatment in Australia

In this roundtable discussion, we will introduce two new nationally funded studies which aim to investigate and address the factors that influence the rise in testing, diagnosis and treatment in Australia. Members of the NHMRC-funded ‘Wiser Healthcare program’ and the ARC-funded ‘Expectations in healthcare testing project’ will give brief presentations on these studies followed by an open roundtable discussion on the issues raised and their implications for research, policy and practice.

Cabrini Hospital – Malvern Boardroom, Level 2, 183 Wattletree Rd, Malvern

Thursday 10 August 2017, 2-5pm

Roundtable discussion_10 Aug_Updated Program


June 2017

International Residential – Citizens’ use of digital media to connect with healthcare: exploring the socio-ethical and regulatory implications

Interdisciplinary three-day workshop exploring the diverse socio-ethical and regulatory implications of citizens’ growing use of digital media. Convened by Professor Alan Petersen, and with participation from range of scholars including Professor Andrea Whittaker and Associate Professor Mark Davis.

Brocher Foundation, Hermance, Switzerland, 22­­–24 June 2017


Symposium – Valuing Donation: Re-evaluating tissue, blood and reproductive donations from live donors in Australia

Join us for a public talk focussing on the anthropological, ethical, service and regulatory aspects of live tissue donations. Speakers: 

  • Associate Professor David Ranson, Medical Director of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria
  • Professor Jenni Millbank, Distinguished Professor of Law, UTS
  • Louise Johnson, CEO, Victorian Assisted Reproduction Treatment Authority
  • Iolanda Rodino, Chair of the Counselling Committee with the Reproductive Technology Council of Perth
  • Dr Katherine Carroll, Research Fellow, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
  • Susan Ireland, Manager Blood, Organ & Tissue Programs, SA Department for Health and Ageing

State Library of Victoria, Village Roadshow Theatrette, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Thursday 8 June, 12-2pm

Valuing Donations Public Talk Flyer


May 2017

Symposium – Sexual and Reproductive Health

Lecture Theatre S12, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University, Clayton campus

Friday 5 May 2017, 9:30 am-12:50pm

Sexual & Reproductive Health symposium program 5 May 2017


April 2017

Book Launch – Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope

Join the authors Alan Petersen, Megan Munsie, Claire Tanner, Casimir McGregor and Jane Brophy, and their guests in celebrating the launch of Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope. The event will be launched by Professor Jane Kaye of the University of Melbourne.

Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, 251 Faraday Street, Carlton, 18 April, 5:30-7pm


Seminar – Can and should ageing be ‘treated’?: Making sense of the rise of the anti-ageing treatment market

Join Professor Alan Peterson for his upcoming National Ageing Research Institute Weekly NARI talk.

The paper will examine some of the ‘anti-ageing treatments’ currently advertised. It will critically scrutinize advertised claims regarding the potential to prevent, delay, reverse or mask the effects of ageing, drawing attention to the frequent absence of evidence for the efficacy, safety and quality of ‘treatments’. It will also discuss the context for the emergence of this market and the implications for how ageing is viewed.

NARI Seminar Room, Building 9, 34-54 Poplar Road, Parkville

Tuesday 11 April 2017, 12pm – 1pm


August 2016

Workshop – Unintended consequences: scholarly publishing and the lay reader

Workshop conducted as part of the Unintended Consequences Research Project, convened by Dr Rachel Nowak, The Brain Dialogue, Professor Alan Petersen, and Dr Elizabeth Paton.

Collins Street, Melbourne, Monash University, 28 August 2016


Roundtable – Reproductive choice and the value of disability

Roundtable event hosted by Monash Faculty of Arts and Centre for Human Bioethics. Invited speakers included: Professor Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory); Professor Robert Sparrow (Monash); Professor Julian Savulescu (Oxford and Monash); Associate Professor Catherine Mills (Monash); Professor Isabel Karpin (UTS); Professor Jackie Leach Scully (Newcastle, UK); Associate Professor Ainsley Newson (Sydney). 

Faculty of Arts and Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, 17 August 2016.


Workshop – Co-producing an online resource for medical travellers

This workshop brought together a diverse group of scholars, members of government departments, digital experts, and representatives of patient groups to discuss the development of a citizen-contributed online resource for Australian patients and carers, clinicians, regulators and researchers seeking information on medical treatments provided or undertaken outside Australia.

Convened by Professor Alan Petersen and Dr Katie Vasey, with contributions of researchers involved in preliminary research, namely Allegra Schermuly and Dr Katie Vasey (Sociology, Monash), and Professor Frada Burstein and Adjunct Professor Julie Fisher (IT, Monash).

Caulfield campus, Monash University, 5 August 2016


Symposium – Cascades of Chronicity and Disability: Interrogating the place of the ‘social’

Research symposium focusing on the structural factors and everyday circumstances of people’s lives that influence their capacity to access economic and practical resources, as well as how these factors impact on the development and outcomes of infectious and non-communicable diseases.

The speakers considered the multiple contributions of social and biological factors to shape people’s experience(s) of various chronic and disabling conditions in a range of settings. The event offered insight into ways in which different researchers have thought about these relationships. Further, it promoted open discussions to progress the concepts of recursive cascades, syndemics, and the chronicities of ill-health. 

Convened by Faculty of Arts Health and Biofutures Focus Program, and Anthropology Program. Invited speakers included: Professor Alex Broom (UNSW), Professor Lenore Manderson (Brown University, U Wits) Dr Lisa Fitzgerald (University of Queensland), Dr Seth Messinger (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences), and Dr Dikaios Sakellariou (Cardiff University).

School of Social Sciences, Monash University, 3 August 2016


May 2016

International Roundtable – Public trust in expert knowledge: ethics, narrative and engagement

An interdisciplinary roundtable event convened by Associate Professor Mark Davis (Monash University), Dr Maria Vaccarella (University of Bristol), and Dr Silvia Camporesi (King’s College London), and with the participation of Professor Alan Petersen, Dr Kate Seear, Dr Zareh Gazarian, Dr Narelle Warren, Dr Julian Millie, and Associate Professor Catherine Mills).

School of Social Sciences, Monash University, 24 May 2016