The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.


Virtual Anatomies: The Cultural Impact of New Medical Imaging Technologies

Date: August 30-31, 2011
Venue: Level 7 Auditorium of the Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland
Street Address: Building 79, Upland Road, St Lucia.
Over the last ten years, new imaging technologies have come to play an increasingly important role in medical research and practice.  During the same period, images of the body produced by these technologies have begun to circulate across a broad range of popular contexts. On television shows, in government health campaigns and advertising for commercial products, images of the body’s interior have been widely represented as revealing the truth about the body and its condition.  The aim of this symposium is to assess the cultural impact of such images in reshaping how bodies are seen and understood in a variety of popular, commercial and clinical contexts. 

The range of applications of medical imaging technologies is growing exponentially: from the development of virtual anatomical atlases like Human Genome and Visible Human Projects, to the use of MRI and PET images as legal evidence, the recent turn to the biological in psychiatric practice, the commercialisation of brain scanning in neuromarketing and neuroenhancement, and the emergence of new biological arts. For this reason, the extent to which these technologies form an important lens through which contemporary publics are trained to see the body is only likely to increase in the years ahead. 

Bringing together neuroscientists, philosophers, artists, bioethicists, medical researchers, historians and cultural theorists, “Virtual Anatomies: The Cultural Impact of New Medical Imaging Technologies” will consider the medical, ethical, aesthetic and philosophical issues raised by the increasing use of imaging technologies in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In so doing, the symposium is intended take account of the new intersections of art, science and bodies to which these technologies are currently giving rise.  
Topics to be examined include:
• the new clinical and commercial applications of imaging technologies
• the historical conditions that have shaped their emergence and public reception
• the philosophical and bioethical considerations they raise
• the cultural, artistic and commercial purposes to which they are put

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Stephens:

Abstracts and information on speakers and will be updated on the conference website as available:

 Registration: Free, but essential for catering purposes. To register for the symposium, please email Rebekah Oldfield at  Also,please note if you are only attending part of the symposium.
Please consult the University of Queensland website for public transport and parking options
This free event is supported by a University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence Award.  Members of the public are welcome to attend. 

 Symposium Programme 
Tuesday August 30

8.40-9.00: Registration     -     Tea and coffee available
9.00-9.30: Welcoming Addresses
Welcome to Country by Uncle Des Sandy
Address by the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Nancy Wright
Address by the Director of the Centre of the History of European Discourses, Peter Cryle
Opening comments by symposium convenor, Elizabeth Stephens
9.30-11.00: Keynote
Michael Sappol (National Library of Medicine)
Chair: Elizabeth Stephens
“The Apotheosis of the Dissection Plate: Spectacles of Layering & Transparency in 19th- & 20th-Century Anatomy; or Traversing the Text/Body Binary in New Media, for Profit and Pleasure”

11.00-11.30: Morning tea
11.30-1.00: Panel
Historical Perspectives on Medical Imaging Technologies
Chair: Peter Cryle
Paul Turnbull (University of Queensland): “The Other in the Image: Aboriginal Australian Crania and the Visualisation of Human Evolutionary History”
Helen MacDonald (University of Melbourne): “Haunting Transplants: The Frankenstein Factor.”
Eva Åhrén (Office of History at the National Institutes of Health): “Seeing, Knowing, Showing: Nineteenth-Century Collaborations between Anatomists and Artists at the Karolinska Institute.”
1.00-2.00: Lunch
2.00-3.00: Panel
Clinical and Commercial Applications of Imaging Technologies
Chair: Gay Hawkins
Perry Bartlett (University of Queensland): Optogenetics: Stimulating Nerve Actions with Light”
David Reutens (University of Queensland): “The (Ultra) High and Low Roads in MR Imaging.”
Mark Andrejevic (University of Queensland): “Neuromarketing: the Commercialisation of Brain Scanning Technologies”
3.00-4.00: Panel Discussion
Challenging Assumptions About New Developments in Neuroscience
Presentations by Wayne Hall, Jayne Lucke, Adrian Carter and Brad Partridge of the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, University of Queensland
4.00-4.30: Afternoon tea
4.30-6.00: Keynote
Susan Dodds (University of Tasmania)
Chair: Knox Peden
“‘It's Not What it Looks Like’: Medical Imagery and Public Policy Debate”
Wednesday August 31

9.15-9.30: Registration     -      Tea and coffee available

9.30-10.30: Plenary 10.30-10.55: Morning tea

Susan Stryker (University of Arizona)
Chair: Greg Hainge
“Transgender Terror, Ethological Probes, and the Queer Politics of Backscatter X-Ray Surveillance”
10.55-11.55: Panel
Chair: Elizabeth Stephens
Sam Murray (Macquarie University): “‘Your Band Placement Looks Textbook’: (Re)Visioning the Lived Experience of Gastric Banding.”
Greg Hainge (University of Queensland): “Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void and the Biocinematic Imaginary”.
12.00-1.00: Lunch
Note: The regular seminar in the QBI Neuroscience Seminar Series—by Pankaj Sah of the QBI, on Synaptic Plasticity—will be held at this time. Symposium delegates are welcome to attend.
1.00-2.30: Keynote
Margrit Shildrick (University of Linkoping)
Chair: Martyn Lloyd
Imagining the Heart: Incorporations, Intrusions and Identity”
2.30-3.30: Panel
Visual Arts and Biomedical Technologies
Chair: Maureen Burns
Svenja Kratz (QUT): “Transformative Encounters and Uncanny Intimacies: Cell Culture, Tissue Therapies and Contemporary Art”
Trish Adams (RMIT): “Mediating Corporeality: RE_Interpretations at the Art/Science Interface.”
3.30-4.00: Afternoon tea
4.00-5.30: Keynote
Oron Catts (SymbioticA; University of Western Australia)
Chair: Elizabeth Stephens
 “Shifting Life – Biological Art”   
6.00-8.00: Closing Event: Exhibition by Svenja Kratz at The Block gallery (QUT) Kelvin Grove. A large scale outdoor screening of "HOST" by Trish Adams will be shown at Parer Place, QUT CPI (adjacent to The Block)

Speakers' Biographies


Trish Adams, RMIT
Trish Adams has worked at the art/science nexus for over ten years. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University School of Art, Melbourne, and a visiting artist at the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland.
Eva Åhrén, Office of History at the National Institutes of Health
Eva Åhrén is a Research Fellow at the Office of History at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. She has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University; Senior Curator and Head of Research at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm; and Research Fellow at Uppsala University, Dept. of the History of Science and Ideas. She is the author of Death, Modernity, and the Body, Sweden 1870-1930 (2009).
Mark Andrejevic, University of Queensland
Mark Andrejevic is a Researcher in the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched and iSpy: Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on surveillance and popular culture. He has taught at Fairfield University (USA), the University of Iowa, and the University of Maribor (Slovenia).
Perry Bartlett, University of Queensland
Professor Perry Bartlett is renowned in the field of cellular and molecular neuroscience, a fact highlighted by his election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the awarding of a prestigious Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2003.  Professor Bartlett was appointed Foundation Chair in Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Queensland in 2002, and was appointed as the inaugural Director of the Queensland Brain Institute in 2003.
Previously he was an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Head of the Division of Development and Neurobiology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, where he developed a strong program of discovery, which led to several paradigm shifts in our understanding of the nervous system. Most notable is his laboratory’s co-discovery in 1992 of the presence of stem cells in the adult brain that had the capacity to produce new neurons. His group was first to isolate and characterise these stem cells in 2001; and have more recently revealed the presence of a latent hippocampal stem cell population.
Professor Bartlett has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, and is the recipient of the John Woodward Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience (1991), and the Bethlehem-Griffith Research Medal and Prize (2000). He is also a past president of the Australian Neuroscience Society, and has served as an executive member of the International Brain Research Organisation and the Federation of Asian and Oceanian Neuroscience Societies.
Adrian Carter, University of Queensland
Adrian Carter is an NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. He is investigating the impact that neuroscience has on understanding and treatment of addiction, including our notions of autonomy and responsibility, the use of coercion and the capacity to consent in addiction, and the use of emerging technologies, such as deep brain stimulation, to treat addiction. He received the 2010 Australian National Drug and Alcohol Award for Excellence in Research and the 2009 University of Queensland Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses, for his doctoral dissertation: ‘Addiction Neuroethics: The Promises and Perils of Addiction Neuroscience’ which will be published as a book by Cambridge University Press in 2011. Dr Carter has over 40 publications on these issues since 2006, including reports for the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, and the Australian Ministerial Council on Drugs Strategy. He has been an advisor to the WHO and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on the use of coercion in drug treatment and the ethical treatment of opioid dependence.
Oron Catts, University of Western Australia
Oron Catts is Director and founder of SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia.  He is an artist, researcher and a curator at the forefront of the emerging field of biological arts.  He has been a Research Fellow at the Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, and founded the Tissue Culture and Art Project in 1996.

Susan Dodds, University of Tasmania
Susan Dodds is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Tasmania.  She is currently conducting research on three projects funded by the ARC: human vulnerability, ethical issues relating to nanomedicine/bionics, and democratic policy making on ethically contentious issues in bioethics.

Greg Hainge, University of Queensland
Greg Hainge is Reader in French in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland. He has published widely on French literature, cinema, experimental music, and critical theory. He serves on the editorial boards of Culture, Theory and Critique, Contemporary French Civilization, Studies in French Cinema, Études céliniennes and Corps: Revue interdisciplinaire.
Wayne Hall, University of Queensland
Wayne Hall is a Professorial Fellow and an NHMRC Australia Fellow in addiction neuroethics at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and at the University of Queensland Brain Institute. He was formerly: Professor of Public Health Policy in the School of Population Health (2005-2010); Director of the Office of Public Policy and Ethics at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (2001-2005) at the University of Queensland; and Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW (1994-2001). He has advised the World Health Organization on: the health effects of cannabis use; the effectiveness of drug substitution treatment; the scientific quality of the Swiss heroin trials; the contribution of illicit drug use to the global burden of disease; and the ethical implications of genetic and neuroscience research on addiction. In 2001 he was identified by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the world’s most highly cited social scientists in the past 20 years. In 2009 he was awarded an NHMRC Australia Fellowship to research the public health, social policy and ethical implications of genetic and neuroscience research on drug use and addiction.
Svenja Kratz, Queensland University of Technology
Svenja Johni Kratz is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher currently completing a PhD in biotechnology and contemporary art in a partnership between the Creative Industries Faculty and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT.
Jayne Lucke, University of Queensland
Jayne Lucke is a Principal Research Fellow in the Centre for Clinical Research at The University of Queensland. Her current research focuses on the ethical and policy implications of new technologies, particularly scientific developments that may extend human life expectancy, and pharmacological treatments of mental and behavioural disorders that may be used to enhance cognitive capacity. She is a Director of Family Planning Queensland and a member of the Steering Committee of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Her background is in social and health psychology and she has published in the fields of program evaluation, women’s health, sexual and reproductive health and mental health. Her previous roles have included the direction of research for a large provider of community and aged care services, research administration and lecturing in psychology and research methods.
Helen MacDonald, University of Melbourne
Cultural historian Helen MacDonald is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Possessing the Dead: The Artful Science of Anatomy (2010) and Human Remains: Episodes in Human Dissection (2005), winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.
Samantha Murray, Macquarie University
Samantha Murray is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. She is the author of The ‘Fat’ Female Body (2008), the forthcoming Fat Panic and Disciplined Embodiment: ‘Health’ and Bodily Aesthetics in the Management of Obesity (2013), and co-editor (with Nikki Sullivan) of Somatechnics: Queering the Technologisation of Bodies (2009).
Brad Partridge, University of Queensland
Brad Partridge is an NHMRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Public Health investigating the use of pharmaceuticals by healthy people to enhance their cognition. Brad's background is in psychology and his work focuses on: 1) attitudes towards emerging areas of research and technology (e.g. addiction genetics, biogerontology, neuroenhancement); and 2) the public health and bioethical implications of such developments. Brad completed his PhD at UQ in 2009 titled "Public Attitudes Towards Ethical Issues Raised by Biotechnologies that may Substantially Extend Human Life". In 2009/10 he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Bioethics Research Unit at Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA). While at Mayo he conducted qualitative interviews with addiction patients about their understanding of a genetic contribution to addiction, as part of a NIDA funded project titled: "Translating Addiction Genomics into Clinical Practice: Examining Ethics & Policy". Brad also has an interest in ethical issues related to sport including the use of performance enhancing drugs (doping).
Michael Sappol, National Library of Medicine
Michael Sappol is curator-historian at the National Library of Medicine (Washington DC), the author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in 19th-Century America (2002), Dream Anatomy (2006), and co-editor of A Cultural History of the Body in the Age of Empire, 1800-1920 (2010).

Margrit Shildrick, University of Linkoping
Margrit Shildrickis Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production at Linkoping University, and Adjunct Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Toronto. Her research covers postmodern feminist and cultural theory, bioethics, critical disability studies and body theory. She is the author of Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality (2009 Palgrave Macmillan), Embodying the Monster (2002 Sage), and Leaky Bodies and Boundaries (1997 Routledge), and joint editor of Ethics of the Body (MIT Press 2005) with Roxanne Mykitiuk; and Feminist Theory and the Body (1999 Edinburgh UP) and Vital Signs (1998 Edinburgh UP) both with Janet Price.

Susan Stryker, University of Arizona
Susan Stryker is Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, and Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona.  Her works include the Lambda Literary Award finalists Gay By the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area (1996; co-authored with Jim Van Buskirk) and Queer Pulp: Perverse Passion in the Golden Age of the Paperback (2001), as well as the Lammie-winning anthology (co-edited with Stephen Whittle) The Transgender Studies Reader (2006). She co-directed, wrote, and produced the Emmy-winning public television documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria with Victor Silverman (2005).

Paul Turnbull, University of Queensland
Paul Turnbull is Professor of eHistory in the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland. Publications include the co-edited collection The Long Journey Home: the Meanings and Values of Repatriation (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010). Major web history projects include “South Seas: Pacific Voyaging and Cross-cultural Encounters 1760-1832” ( and the Gugu-Badhun Elders Oral History Project (



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