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How to properly conceive of, value, measure, sustain and improve on ‘life’ – in its myriad forms and at a range of scales – is becoming an increasingly profound concern in the 21st century. In this age of computing and other significant technological advances, intensified measures of quantification are enabling us to identify and capitalise on new insights into countless dimensions of ‘life’ that had previously escaped our awareness and comprehension. Wary of the implications of this, however, some argue for a need to move away from quantification entirely to refocus on the qualitative conditions under which ‘life’ – human and/or nonhuman – is best sustained. Our conference aims to engage with this debate, asking what is at stake in contestations over appropriate standards for measuring and valuing ‘life’? How is ‘life’ variously categorized and defined in such different systems of measure? What are the oppositions, trade-offs, and potential complementarities between quantitative and qualitative assessments?
The conference aims to attract scholars across a range of social and natural sciences as well as practitioners, members of civil society and policymakers with interests in the politics of ‘life’ writ large. Specific topics may include (but are not limited to):
We encourage submissions in a variety of formats, including abstracts for individual (15 min.) presentations, full (4 paper) sessions or even multiple sessions, as well as posters, theatrical performances, art installations, and whatever else you feel appropriate for this theme.