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The Invasive Other

34th Social Research Conference April 20-21, 2016

The media is full of headlines about “invasive others”: the Zika epidemic, the refugee crisis, “Big Data”, GMOs. This conference provides a unique approach to the concept of the invasive other. By focusing on the common language used to describe them – whether people, plants, ideas or pathogens – we can see that they are patrolled and controlled in similar ways. By placing these different invasives alongside one another, we will learn more about the nature of Otherness in our world, and how it is managed, governed or exterminated. Our panels of experts will speak not simply about their own specific area of expertise (and invasion), but about how their invasives relate to or intersect with the other areas.

Speakers include Bridget Anderson, Jean Comaroff, Juanita Sundberg, Vinh-Kim Nguyen, David Napier, Nathaniel Hupert, Jacob Silverman, Agnes Callamard, Marc Rotenberg, Hugh Raffles, Fabio Parasecoli, Eleana Kim,and keynote speaker Michael Ignatieff

Proceedings from this conference can be found in Social Research: An International Quarterly



DAY 1, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

12:00 – 2:30 PM



Strategies for Open Borders (i.e. no one is “invasive”) – Mediterranean crisis and idea of the commons

Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship; Deputy Director of COMPAS Oxford University

Ecologies of Otherness: The Politics of Species Being

Jean Comaroff, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Oppenheimer Fellow in African Studies, Harvard University

Bordering, Ordering, and Contested Crossings: articulations of invasion at the US-Mexico border

Juanita Sundberg, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia


Moderator, Ann Laura Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and History, The New School

3:00 – 5:30 PM:

SESSION 2: Pathogens


Epidemics and Xenophobia

David Napier, Professor of Medical Anthropology, University College London

"Who's invading whom? Zika and the plastification of the planet."

Nathaniel Hupert MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and of Medicine | Weill Medical College, Cornell University

Treatment camps and biomedical trials during West Africa’s ebola epidemic

Vinh-Kim Nguyen, Chair of Anthropology and Global Health, College d’etudes mondiales


Moderator: Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School

DAY 2, Thursday, April 21, 2016

12:00 PM – 2:30PM

SESSION 3: Ideas


Ideas and “The Other”

Agnes Callamard, Director, Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression and Information

Invasive Technologies

Marc Rotenberg, President and Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center

The Blurring of Public and Private

Jacob Silverman, Journalist and Book Critic


Moderator: Dominic Pettman, Professor of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts; Chair, Liberal Studies Program, The New School for Social Research, The New School

3:00 PM – 5:30 PM

SESSION 4: Ecologies


“Mother Nature’s Melting Pot”

Hugh Raffles, Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts

Global Trade, Food Safety, and the Fear of Invisible Invaders

Fabio Parasecoli, Associate Professor and Director of Food Studies Program, The New School

The DMZ's Avian Others

Eleana Kim, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California – Irvine.


Moderator: Rafi Youatt, Assistant Professor of Politics, The New School

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM


Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice, Shorenstein Center, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Discussant, Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School



BIOGRAPHIES Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators

Bridget Anderson , Professor of Migration and Citizenship and Research Director at COMPAS. She has a DPhil in Sociology and previous training in Philosophy and Modern Languages. She is the author of Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls and Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour; co-edited Who Needs Migrant Workers? Labour Shortages, Immigration and Public Policy with Martin Ruhs; The Social, Political and Historical Contours of Deportation with Matthew Gibney and Emanuela Paoletti; Migration and Care Labour: Theory, Policy and Politics with Isabel Shutes; and Citizenship and Its Others with Vanessa Hughes. Bridget has explored the tension between labor market flexibilities and citizenship rights, and pioneered an understanding of the functions of immigration in key labor market sectors. Her interest in labor demand has meant an engagement with debates about trafficking and modern day slavery, which in turn led to an interest in state enforcement and deportation, and in the ways immigration controls increasingly impact on citizens as well as on migrants. Bridget has worked closely with migrants’ organisations, trades unions and legal practitioners at local, national and international level. Agnes Callamard is the Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression, an initiative seeking to advance understanding on freedom of expression global norms, and Special Adviser to the President of Columbia University, first amendment scholar Lee Bollinger. Dr. Agnès Callamard has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. She spent nine years as the Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, the international human rights organization promoting and defending freedom of expression and access to information globally. Under her leadership, ARTICLE 19 reach and reputation flourished earning global recognition for its cutting edge public policy thinking on diverse issues including national security, equality and development. She founded and led HAP International (the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership), which is the first self-regulatory body for humanitarian agencies at the international level. Prior to this, Dr. Callamard was Chef de Cabinet for the Secretary General of Amnesty International (AI) and AI’s Research-Policy Coordinator, leading AI’s policy work and research on women’s human rights. Agnès has advised senior levels of multilateral organizations and governments around the world and has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries. She has published broadly in the field of human rights, women’s rights, refugee movements and accountability and holds a PhD in Political Science from the New School for Social Research in New York. Jean Comaroff is the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and Anthropology, and Oppenheimer Research Fellow at Harvard University. She was educated at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Economics. Until 2012, she was the Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. She also serves Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town. Her research, primarily conducted in southern Africa, has centered on the making and unmaking of colonial society, the nature of the postcolony, and the late modern world as viewed from the Global South. Her writing has covered a range of more specific topics: religion and ritual, medicine and body politics, state formation, law, and crime, democracy and difference. Publications include Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance: the Culture and History of a South African People (1985), “Beyond the Politics of Bare Life: AIDS and the Global Order” (2007); and, with John L. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution (vols. l [1991] and ll [1997]); Ethnography and the Historical Imagination (1992); Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism (2000), Law and Disorder in the Postcolony (2006), Ethnicity, Inc. (2009), and Theory from the South, or How Euro-America is Evolving Toward Africa (2011). A new volume, Thinking Through Crime, and Policing: knowledge, sovereignty, and social order in late modern times, is currently in press. Nathaniel Hupert MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research and of Medicine | Weill Medical College, Cornell University

Associate Attending Physician, Internal Medicine | New York Presbyterian Hospital Co-Director, Cornell Institute for Disease and Disaster Preparedness

Senior Medical Advisor, Health and Economics Modeling Unit | Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections (DPEI)

National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) | U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Medical Advisor, National Healthcare Preparedness Program | Office of Emergency Management (OEM)

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Michael Ignatieff was born in Canada, educated at the University of Toronto and Harvard, Michael Ignatieff is a university professor, writer and former politician. He holds a doctorate in history from Harvard University and has held academic posts at the University of British Columbia, Cambridge University, the University of Toronto, the London School of Economics and Harvard University, where he was Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy between 2000 and 2005. His major publications are The Needs of Strangers (1984), Scar Tissue (1992), Isaiah Berlin (1998), The Rights Revolution (2000), Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (2001), The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (2004), and Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics (2013). Between 2006 and 2011, he served as an MP in the Parliament of Canada and then as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honorary degrees. He also currently serves as Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in New York. Eleana Kim is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Interim Director of the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies at UC Irvine. She is the author of Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoption and the Politics of Belonging (Duke University Press, 2010), which received the James B. Palais Prize in Korean Studies from the Association of Asian Studies and the Association of Asian American Studies Social Science Book Award, both in 2012. She is currently completing a second project, Making Peace with Nature: The Greening of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which examines the social, cultural, ecological, and political transformations of the most heavily fortified border in the world. More information on her research and writing can be found at Arien Mack the Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, has been the editor of Social Research since 1970 and is the founder and director of the Social Research conference series and all other Social Research projects. She teaches and manages a research laboratory investigating visual perception. Her publications include more than 60 articles, a book, Inattentional Blindness (1998), and three edited volumes (issues of Social Research republished as books by university presses): Death and the American Experience (1973), Technology and the Rest of Culture (1997), and Humans and Other Animals (1995). David Napier is Professor of Medical Anthropology at University College London (UCL) and Director of its Science, Medicine, and Society Network. He has been a fellow of a number of universities and colleges, including Harvard University, New York University, the Johns Hopkins University, All Souls College, Oxford, and Green Templeton College, Oxford. Napier’s special interests include perceptions of the foreign, xenophobia, immunology, caring for ethnically diverse populations, migration and vulnerability, and homelessness. He has published on law and anthropology, creativity, art and anthropology, and intellectual property and biodiversity, and is the author of many scholarly books and numerous book chapters. Napier has been involved in three Lancet commissions, leading the 2014 Lancet Commission on Culture and Health. His most recent book, Making Things Better (Oxford University Press 2013) explores notions of property and local value across cultures. He regularly writes for the press (e.g., Le Monde) and his work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, and The Guardian, among others. For his activities with more than 100 charities and NGOs, the UK government and research councils awarded him the first Beacon Fellowship in Public Engagement. He is also the recipient of the Burma Coalition’s Human Rights Award. Napier has served as a consultant on vulnerable populations in the aftermath of natural and human disasters, having worked for, among others, the World Health Organization, CRISIS UK, The United Nations, and the International Organization for Migration. He is currently the academic lead on a global Cities Changing Diabetes initiative, and editing a book on new and emerging pathologies. Vinh-Kim Nguyen is an HIV and Emergency physician and medical anthropologist. As both practitioner and researcher, he is concerned with the relationship between science, politics and practice in global health. He practices Emergency Medicine at Avicenna Hospital in Paris and the Jewish General Hospital in Montréal, currently holds an ERC Consolidator Grant (Research Chair) on the science and politics of a world without AIDS and heads a team of anthropologists researching the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He is Professor of Global Health at the University of Montreal and holds Chairs in Anthropology and Global Health at the University of Amsterdam and the Collège d'études mondiales in Paris. He is the author of The Republic of Therapy: Triage and Sovereignty in West Africa's Time of AIDS; coauthor, with Margaret Lock, of An Anthropology of Biomedicine and also the co-editor, with Jennifer Klot, of The Fourth Wave: Violence, Gender, Culture, and HIV in the 21st Century, as well as numerous articles in biomedical and anthropological journals. Fabio Parasecoli is Associate Professor and Director of Food Studies Initiatives at the New School in New York City. His research explores the intersections among food, popular culture, and politics, particularly in food design. He studied East Asian cultures and political science in Rome, Naples and Beijing. After covering Middle and Far Eastern political issues, he wrote for many years as the U.S. correspondent for Gambero Rosso, Italy’s authoritative food and wine magazine. Recent books include Bite me! Food in Popular Culture (2008), the six-volume Cultural History of Food (2012, co-edited with Peter Scholliers), and Al Dente: A History of Food in Italy (2014, translated into Italian in 2015). He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Dominic Pettman is Chair of Liberal Studies, New School for Social Research, and Professor of Culture & Media, Eugene Lang College. His books include, Love and Other Technologies: Retrofitting Eros for the Information Age (Fordham, 2006), Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (Minnesota, 2011), Look at the Bunny: Totem, Taboo, Technology (Zero Books, 2013), In Divisible Cities (Punctum Press, 2013), Infinite Distraction: Paying Attention to Social Media (Polity, 2015), and the forthcoming, Creaturely Love: How Desire Makes Us More, and Less, Than Human (Minnesota, 2016). Hugh Raffles is Professor of Anthropology and director of the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at The New School. His most recent book, Insectopedia, was a New York Times Notable Book and the recipient of prizes in both the social sciences and literary non-fiction. He is currently completing an ethnography of rocks and stones. Marc Rotenberg is President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. He teaches information privacy and open government at Georgetown Law. His work focuses on emerging privacy and ciivl liberties issues. He has litigated cases concerning airport body scanners, NSA surveillance, airport body scanners, consumer privacy, government secrecy, and drone surveillance. His recent publications include “Privacy in the Modern Age: The Search for Solutions” (The New Press 2015) and (with Anita Allen) “Privacy Law and Society” (West Academic 2016). Jacob Silverman is the author of Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection. A contributing editor for The Baffler, his work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other publications. His website is Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research where she has taught since 2004. She has worked for some thirty years on the politics of knowledge, colonial governance, racial epistemologies, affective states, the sexual politics of empire, and ethnography of the archives. She has been a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell, Birzeit University in Ramallah, the Goethe University in Frankfurt, and the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism. She is part of the collective editorial board of Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon and founding director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry. Her most recent book, Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times is forthcoming from Duke University Press this year. Juanita Sundberg is Associate Professor of Geography and Latin American Studies at the University of British Columbia. She works at the intersection of political ecology, feminist geopolitics, critical race theory, and posthumanism. Current research projects include a collaborative bi-national project analyzing how militarized approaches to border governance and territorial control (re)configure everyday life for residents of the United States and Mexico borderlands. Dr. Sundberg also is working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Cat Fights on the Río & Diabolic Caminos in the Desert: the nature of geopolitics in the United States-Mexico borderlands. The book draws on ten years of research focusing on the environmental dimensions of U.S. border security in border protected areas, especially national wildlife refuges. Miriam Ticktin received her PhD in Anthropology at Stanford University and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France, and an MA in English Literature from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Before coming to the New School, Miriam was an Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, and also held a postdoctoral position in the Society of Fellows at Columbia University. She is currently on leave, as a member of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study (2015-16). Professor Ticktin works at the intersections of the anthropology of medicine and science, law, and transnational and postcolonial feminist theory. Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Immigration and Humanitarianism in France (UC Press, 2011), co-editor of In the Name of Humanity: the Government of Threat and Care (with Ilana Feldman, Duke UP 2010), and a founding co-editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development. She is currently at work on two new projects: 1) a short book on innocence as a political concept, and 2) a book on practices of containment at the border, from border walls to spaces of quarantine, and how these are shaped by encounters between humans and non-humans, from wildlife to viruses. The premise of the book is that we cannot understand the politics of border walls without also taking into account how they intersect with and are shaped by the politics of health, environment and conservation. Rafi Youatt is Assistant Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College. His work explores the multiple ways that politics works across, through, and in spite of species differences. His first book, Counting Species: Biodiversity in Global Environmental Politics (Minnesota, 2015), examined the politics of global biodiversity and the changing modes of environmental governance that have worked in its name. His current project engages the intersection of ecological management in American borderlands with questions of sovereignty, security, and borders.

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