Speculative Futures

A symposium and workshop exploring creative practices in health, technology and medicine in the global South


Fields of Knowledge
  • Health / Sustainability
  • Politics / Economics
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University


Ramah McKay, Vincent Duclos


School of Arts & Sciences and Wolf Humanities Center at Penn

Dept. for Global Studies & Modern Languages and Center for STS (CoAS) at Drexel

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Contact info

RSVP kindly requested

Slought is pleased to announce "Speculative Futures," a symposium on April 6, 2018 from 9am-5:30pm, organized with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

How are new geographies of experimentation and speculation remaking science and medicine? How are techno-scientific and biomedical futures imagined in and beyond the Global South? Bringing together scholars from anthropology, STS, and adjacent fields, this workshop explores how configurations of 'the South' facilitate, produce, and are taken up within new formations of science, technology, and medicine. Through three panel presentations and a public discussion and roundtable, this workshop examines contemporary and historical forms of scientific and medical speculation in the global South.

Science and medicine have long been sites of intervention, experimentation, and speculation in the South. Historians and anthropologists have explored colonial practices of experimentation and intervention, for instance, while archaeologists have examined precolonial modes of science, industry, and production. Anthropological and STS investigations of science and medicine in the South have relied in turn on developmental and institutional framings to understand the forms of epistemological, financial, material and moral value that these engagements generate.

Yet these political, economic, and material contexts are changing. Observers, for instance, have hailed "the end of global health," even as increasing attention to "South-South" alignments become sites of both hype and hope, promising to transform, undo, or remake dominant configurations of health, technology, and intervention. What techno-scientific and medical futures are being imagined in light of these shifts, by whom, and with what effects? How do new scientific, technological, and medical practices articulate with practices of producing knowledge, politics, and value? Exploring these questions through diverse ethnographic case studies, this workshop attends to the emergence, consolidation, and contestation of speculative techno-medical futures. It seeks to generate an analytical vocabulary for understanding the emergent configurations through which newly "Southern" scientific, technological, and medical futures are imagined today.

Download schedule

Presenting Speakers

Alice Street (Edinburgh)
Crystal Biruk (Oberlin)
Euclides Gonçalves (Kaleidoscopio)
Heidi Morefield (Johns Hopkins)
Kaushik Sunder Rajan (Chicago)
Kristina Lyons (UC Santa Cruz)
Liliana Gil (New School)
Nolwazi Mkhwanazi (WiSER)
Marko Monteiro (Unicamp)
Peter Redfield (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Ramah McKay (Penn)
Sebastián Ureta (UAH)
Sylvain Landry Faye (UCAD)
Vincent Duclos (Drexel)

Roundtable Participants

Jean Comaroff (Harvard)
Stacey Langwick (Cornell)
Julie Livingston (NYU)
Richard Rottenburg (Halle)