Bio2Science: the increasing relevance of critical and feminist geography to life science, health, and medicine

Authors: Allison Hayes-Conroy*, Temple University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: Biosocial, Health, Bodies, Biography, Interdisciplinary Science
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Madison A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In an interdisciplinary setting, I have been working with colleagues in life and medical sciences towards the launch of a new field that we call Bio2Science, which seeks to integrate biology and biography in understanding health, wellness and disease. We start from the premise that human biology is always already biographical. Human biology emerges through the stories of individuals and their relations and ancestors, shaped not only by broad geographic and political patterns but also by the jumbled trajectories of billions of inter-mingled ecological and social lives. Life and social scientists already know that biographical aspects of human life – from individual trauma to institutional racism – can greatly affect health. While the study of social and environmental aspects of human life, condition, and disease have made great headway in understanding “determinants of health” through averages, zip codes, and indices of inequity, we know very little about how the dense social and ecological interactions of an individual’s life come to matter to health. Hence, we work towards a field in which the specificities of embodied life (in all of their political, ecological, and cultural complexity) bump up against (or are integrated with) big data from the ‘omics that seek not just understanding but predictive power. My conference paper will contextualize the work happening towards Bio2Science and offer some concerns and questions about its future, particularly with respect to tensions between the different kinds of health knowledges it entails.

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