Women & Gender Studies Institute

Michelle Murphy

Ph.D. (Harvard University, History of Science)

phone : 416-978-8964

office : 2039

email : michelle.murphy@utoronto.ca

Michelle Murphy is a feminist technoscience studies scholar and historian of the recent past who theorizes and researches about the politics of technoscience; sexed,raced, and queer life; environmental politics; biopolitics and necropolitics; and critiques of capitalism particularly in contemporary, cold war, and postcolonial conjunctures associated with the United States.  She is co-organizer of Technoscience Salon and Director of the Technoscience Research Unit.

She supervises graduate students interested in technoscience and new media; critical, feminist, and queer theory; reproductive politics, biopolitics, and necropolitics; environmental studies and political ecology; critical development studies;  affect, materiality, and living-being; and marxian theory, political economy, and governmentality.

For a more details please visit her homepage: technopolitics.wordpress.com

Bucket samplers, office cubicles, errant molecules, manual suction abortion kits, drosophila in bottles, GNP per capita…

I grapple with in the interdisciplinary field of Technoscience Studies.   My research and writing concerns both theorizing and historicizing environmental politics, labor, biopolitics, technology, race, sex, health, feminism, economic planning, postcolonialism, capital, neoliberalism, and empire in the recent past of the United States and through feminist and queer transnational analytics.

My most recent book is Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Feminism, Technoscience, and Biopolitical Topographies of Cold War America (Duke UP).  It takes U.S. radical feminist attempts to craft alternative health techniques in feminist clinics the 1970s and 1980s as an entry point into critically mapping entanglements between the recent histories of feminism, American empire, population control, and neoliberalism

I am the author of Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers(Duke University Press, 2006). Winner of the Ludwik Fleck Prize (2008) from the Society for Social Studies of Science. Here is a recent blog interview with Jody Roberts about the book on World’s Fair .

I co-edited with Gregg Mitman and Christopher Sellers of Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Exposure in Modern Environments, Osiris v. 19 (University of Chicago Press, 2004).  The book provoked intersections between the fields of environmental history, history of science, and history of medicine.

I am currently working on two projects.  My project on theEconomization of Life explores the rise of neoliberal techiniques for governing aggregate forms of life, particularly “population” together with techniques for governing capital accumulation as “economy.” In particular, I focus on the transnational history of U.S. funded demography, economics, public health, and population science as it was articulated through cold war/imperial projects concerned with Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as the rise of human capital logics and the girling of human capital. This project hopes to expand the ways we theorize and understand the entanglements between sex, science, and capital in the late twentieth century.  In this way, I analyze “formations of economy” and not just “formations of capital.”

My other current project on Distributed Reproduction seeks to theorize an alternative ontology and scale for reproduction that exceeds individual embodiment and instead encompasses temporally and geographically extensive configurations of sex, living-being, technoscience, environmental politics, and political economy. This work is concerned with the life and death of “alter life” -life already altered by histories of capitalism and colonialism – within the worlds and infrastructures petrochemical refining made.

Books

Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Feminism, Technoscience, and a Biopolitical Topography of Cold War America (Duke University Press, 2012).

Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers  (Duke University Press, 2006).  Winner of the Fleck Prize for best book in the field of Science and Technology Studies.

Edited Volumes

Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy and Christopher Sellers, eds., Landscapes of Exposure: Environment and Illness in Modern Environments, Osiris Vol. 19, (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

Refereed Articles

“Economization of Life: Calculative Infrastructures of Population and Economy”  in Peg Rawes, ed. Relational Ecologies: Subjectivity, Sex, Nature and Architecture (London: Routledge, forthcoming).

Reprinted in Nancy Hewitt, ed. No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism (New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, forthcoming).

“Chemical Infrastructures of Reproduction” in Nathalie Jas and Soraya Boudia, ed. Toxic World (London, Pickering and Chato, 2012).

“Distributed Reproduction” in Paisley Currah and Monica Casper, eds. Corpus: Bodies of Knowledge (New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011): 21-38.

“Technology, Governmentality, Population Control” History and Technology 26.1 (2010): 69-76.

“Anticipation: Technoscience, Life, Affect, Temporality” Subjectivities 28.1 (2009): 246–265, with Adele Clarke and Vincanne Adams.

“Chemical Regimes of Life,” Journal of Environmental History 13.4 (2008): 695-703.

“Exposed on the Inside” Log: Journal for Architecture (New York) v. 10 (2007).

“Uncertain Exposures and the Privilege of Imperception: Activist Scientists and Race at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ” in Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy and Christopher Sellers, eds., Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Illness in Modern Environments, Osiris Vol. 19 (University of Chicago Press, 2004) 266-82

Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, and Christopher Sellers, “Introduction: A Cloud Over History” in Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy and Christopher Sellers, eds.,  Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Illness in Modern Environments, Osiris Vol. 19, (University of Chicago Press, 2004)1-17.

“Immodest Witnessing: Vaginal Self-Examination and the Evidence of Experience in the U.S. Feminist Self Help Movement,” Feminist Studies (2004) 115-47.

“The ‘Elsewhere within Here’ and Environmental Illness; Or, How to Build Yourself a Body in a Safe Space, Configurations  8 (2000): 87-120.

“Toxicity in the Details: The History of the Women’s Office Worker Movement and Occupational Health in the Office,” Labor History, 41.2 (2000): 189-225.

Book Chapters

“Distributed Reproduction” in Paisley Currah and Monica Casper, eds. Bodies of Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

“Sex and Gender” Dictionary of Transnational History, eds. by Akira Iriye and Pierre-Yves Saunier, (London: Palgrave, 2009) 3 pages.

“Occupational Health From Below: The Women Office Worker Movement and the Hazardous Office” in Randall Packard, et. al, eds., Emerging Illnesses and Society: Defining the Public Health (University of Michigan, 2004) 191-223

“Liberation through Control in the Body Politics of U.S. Radical Feminism” in Lorraine Daston and Fernando Vidal, eds.,  The Moral Authority of Nature (University of Chicago, 2003): 331-55.

Interviews

Author-meets-blogger, World’s Fair (2008)

Website

Editor, RaceSci Website on the History of “Race” in Science, Medicine and Technology (1996-2007)  www.racesci.org.

Undergraduate Courses

  • WGS 440H Postcolonial Cyborgs for Planetary Futures (2014)
  • WGS 273Y Environmental (In)Justice (20012, 20013)
  • WGS 262Y, Texts, Theories, Histories (2005-6, 2006-7)
  • HIS496S, Sex, Money and American Empire (2007)
  • HIS 202F, Gender, Race and Science (2004, 2005)
  • NEW 362S, Feminisms, Reproduction, Nation (2005)

 

Graduate Courses

  • WGS1000S Text, Theories, History (2009, 2014)
  • HIS1007H Theories, Histories, Imaginaries: Themes in Technoscience (2013)
  • HIS1004S Biopolitics and History (2007, 2009, 2011)
  • HIS1016F Readings in the History of Gender and Sexuality (2004, 2005)

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