Mark the date June 12th Bioethics & Society seminar with Professor Catherine Mills on “Seeing, Feeling, Doing: Obstetric ultrasound, abortion and the politics of empathy”


Professor Catherine Mills

We are delighted to announce an upcoming Bioethics & Society seminar with Dr Catherine Mills, Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow in the  Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University. Catherine Mills will be giving a paper titled “Seeing, Feeling, Doing: Obstetric ultrasound, abortion and the politics of empathy”.

When: Monday June 12th, 4:00-5:30 pm

Where: K3.11, Strand Campus (directions: here)


In recent years, a number of US states have adopted laws that require pregnant women to have an ultrasound examination, and be shown images of their fetus, prior to undergoing a pregnancy termination. While there is a growing critical literature on such laws, there has been little attempt in bioethics or philosophy to unpack one of the basic presumptions of them: that seeing one’s fetus changes the ways in which one might act in regards to it, including in terms of the (ethical) decision about whether to allow it to live or not. However, this presumption raises significant questions about the relation between visibility, emotion and ethics. In addressing these questions, I first consider the theory of maternal bonding, its link to obstetric ultrasound, and its use in attempts to limit access to abortion. Second, I elaborate notions of maternal bonding in terms of recent philosophy of empathy, with particular reference to comments by moral sentimentalist, Michael Slote, on the relevance of empathy to the ethics of abortion. I show that there are numerous complexities to empathy in regards to a human fetus and in the politics of abortion. The approach I propose reveals the need for a new account of the politics of emotion in relation to abortion – not in terms of grief and shame, but in those of a critical analysis of the (variable) mobilization of empathy and care.

About the speaker:

Dr Catherine Mills is an Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow in the  Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University. The Future Fellowship is a very prestigious Australian Research Council Research research fellowship on a project on reproductive responsibility, from 2013 to 2018. Another recently awarded ARC Discovery Project (2017-2019) supports her research on the ethical and legal issues raised by technologies that permit inheritable genetic modifications to the human genome, such as mitochondrial replacement therapy and CRISPR genome editing.

Catherine Mills has published widely in the ethics of reproduction: she is the author of three single author books, as well as numerous articles. Her books are: The Philosophy of Agamben (2008), Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and biopolitics (2011) and Biopolitics (forthcoming, 2017). Details (and some copies) of her articles, book chapters and other publications may be found here. Some draft versions are also available via her profile. For a full list of her publications see here.

All are welcome and there is no need to register. Hope to see many of you there!

Contact person for this seminar: Dr Silvia Camporesi,

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Launch Event – Wellbeing, Health, Retirement and the Lifecourse (WHeRL) Project, Tuesday 20th June 2pm – 5.30pm

When: Tuesday 20th June 2017 2pm – 5.30pm

Where: Travers Smith LLP, 10 Snow Hill, London, EC1A 2AL

We would be delighted if you could join us for the launch event and conclusion of this project.

Chair: Norma Cohen, PPI Governor

Key Note Speaker: Sir Steve Webb, PPI Governor

Panel Members: Karen Glaser (WHERL), Fiona Tait (Intelligent Pensions), Fiona Thom (DWP), TBC (Bupa), Chris Curry (PPI), Sir Steve Webb (Royal London)

inline-Wherl-LogoWHERL is a three-year academic research project led by the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London, in partnership with 5 other institutions.

For the last three years, the Wellbeing, Health, Retirement and Lifecourse (WHERL) project has been investigating a crucial question for ageing societies: how inequalities across the lifecourse relate to paid work in later life in the UK. The project brought together an interdisciplinary consortium of academics whose aim has been to investigate lifecourse influences on later life work and the implications for well-being, health and financial outcomes of working up to and beyond State Pension Age. This report brings together research on a number of cross-cutting factors that can affect the likelihood that individuals will work up to and beyond State Pension Age, as well as the impact this can have on their health, wellbeing and financial circumstances, and draws out the implications for policy and inequalities.

For more info about the project:

To register, please click here:

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Registration now open for the 2017 Postgraduate Bioethics Conference, Oxford 4-5th September

On this page, you can register for the 2017 Postgraduate Bioethics Conference (PGBC), to be held 4-5th September at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. Graduate students at Masters or PhD level are eligible to attend. The conference is free – lunch, refreshments, a networking dinner on the evening of Day 1 and one night’s accommodation all provided. Delegates can also apply:

  • to give a long oral presentation (15 mins + 5 mins of questions), or
  • to give a short oral presentation (up to 5 mins including time for audience questions), and/or
  • for a travel bursary (up to £100 for national students or up to £200 for international students).

To find out how to registerapply to give a presentation, and apply for a bursary, please see below.

To register

Please register online using the Google form found at

Conference places are limited. In the event that conference registration is oversubscribed, priority will be given to those who wish also to give an oral presentation (see below).

The deadline for registration applications is 1 July 2017. We will aim to contact you by 21 July 2017 to confirm whether you have a place.

To apply to give a long or short oral presentation (submit an abstract)

To submit an abstract for either a long or short oral presentation, use the online abstract submission system found here. You will need to create a login to access this system. Abstracts should be in keeping with the Conference Theme (for more information about the Conference Theme, please see the Programme page.) Abstracts should fulfil certain broad criteria (see Criteria for abstracts).

Please note, abstracts received as attachments to emails will not be accepted.

Slots for giving a long oral presentation are limited and are allocated based on the results of the abstract review (reviews are blinded). If you do not obtain a long presentation slot, we will hope to offer you a short (5 minute) slot instead. You may also opt just to give a short (5 minute) oral presentation. These short slots are also limited but we will try to accommodate everyone who wants to present.

The deadline for all abstracts applications is 1 July 2017. We will aim to contact you by 21 July 2017 to confirm whether you have a presentation slot.

To apply for a bursary

A limited number of bursaries to fund travel to the Conference are available. Please apply using the Bursary application form. (Note as part of the application you will be asked to demonstrate that you are exploring other funding opportunities.)

The deadline for all bursary applications is 1 July 2017. We will aim to contact you by 21 July 2017 to confirm whether your application is successful.



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Mark your diary Friday June 2nd for an upcoming seminar by Professor Harris Solomon, Duke University: “On Life Support”

Dear Colleagues and Students,

please mark your calendar for an upcoming GHSM lecture by Professor Harris Solomon, Cultural Anthropology and Global Health, Duke University, titled “On Life Support”.

harris-solomonWhen: Friday, 2 June 2017,  4-6pm

Where: Old Committee Room, King’s College London, Strand Campus.

Organizers: Professor Megan Vaughan (UCL) and Dr Carlo Caduff (KCL)


This paper considers the phenomenon of breath to understand the edges of living and dying.  It is based on ethnographic research in a trauma intensive care unit in one of Mumbai’s busiest public hospitals.  The paper examines how patients, their kin, and doctors navigate the thorny state of not being able to breathe on one’s own.  At this point, patients are put on a respirator (“venti” in Hindi and Marathi) for artificial ventilation. Being on a ventilator is always relational. The ward has very few ventilators and demand for them is high.  The closer one patient comes to death, the closer another patient comes to an available ventilator and possibly life.  I explain how people experience this bind, and detail how the ventilator breathes life not only into specific patients in Mumbai but also into survival economies of Indian medicine, law, and ethics.

About the speaker
Harris Solomon is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Global Health at Duke University.  He received his PhD in Anthropology from Brown University.  His major research projects employ ethnographic methods to detail the dynamic relations between people, their lived environments, and chronic illness in contemporary urban India.   His book, Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India (Duke University Press, May 2016) examines the relationships forged between food, fat, the body, and urban life in light of India’s rising rates of obesity and diabetes. It focuses conceptually on the phenomenon of metabolism. In March 2015, Solomon received a NSF CAREER Award from the NSF Cultural Anthropology Program for his current research project.  He is now studying how traffic on Mumbai’s roads and railways works as the context, cause, and consequence of bodily injury and trauma.

For inquiries about this seminar please contact Dr Carlo Caduff:
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Upcoming KCL-LSHTM Critical Global Health Seminar May 16th “War & Sweets: Moralising metaphors and Microbial myths in the Antibiotic era”

Please join us for our next KCL-LSHTM Critical Global Health Seminar onAntimicrobial Resistance, which will take place at LSHTM on Tuesday 16th May 2017, 4-5.30 pm, in the John Snow Lecture Theatre A, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, WC1E 7HT.

Dr Coll Hutchison, from the department of Global Health and Development at LSHTM will present “War & Sweets: Moralising metaphors and Microbial myths in the Antibiotic era”. Coll is an anthropologist, currently engaged with anthropology of microbes, part of which aims to explore the existential, political and disciplinary motivations of (global) health researchers’ work and action on antimicrobial resistance, so as to open up space for alternative strategies. Dr Nicolas Fortané from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, currently visiting research fellow at KCL, will present “Public problem and scientific controversies: how French veterinary experts framed the AMR issue?”. Nicolas is a sociologist interested in animal health policies and the veterinary profession and is currently working on AMR policy and the use of antibiotics in livestock in France and the UK. His recent publications include: Cécile Adam, Christian Ducrot, Mathilde Paul, Nicolas Fortané, “Autonomy under contract: the case of traditional free-range poultry farmers”, Review of Agriculture, Food and Environment studies, 2017; Nicolas Fortané & Frédéric Keck, “How biosecurity reframes animal surveillance”, Revue d’Anthropologie des Connaissances, 9 (2), 2015, pp. A-L. Drs Hutchison and Fortané will be joined by Dr Clare Chandler, medical anthropologist and director of the LSHTM Antimicrobial Resistance Centre, as discussant.

The Critical Global Health Seminar Series

Jointly organised by King’s College London (KCL) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Critical Global Health Seminar Series brings together critically-minded social scientists, public health experts and practitioners together to debate key areas of concern for global health today and reflect on how these should be approached and explored. The seminars are organised as a platform for social scientists working in the field to present and reflect on their current and planned research in discussion with the chair-discussant and the audience. More broadly, the aim of the series is to provide a forum to discuss emerging contradictions and frictions in global health research and policy as well as the challenges and opportunities these present to social scientific inquiry. Through open-ended and candid exchange on the experiences of working in the global health field, we seek to develop new avenues for critical thought in the social sciences and beyond.

For further information, please contact one of the organisers: Dr Clare Chandler (, Dr Ann Kelly (, Dr Melissa Parker (, Dr Clare Herrick (, Dr John Manton ( and Dr David Reubi (

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