[sl4] Phd Studentships in Scotland - immortality and science communication / human enhancement in film

From: Andy Miah (email@andymiah.net)
Date: Tue Jan 06 2009 - 11:47:01 MST

Dear Colleagues,

Please find below info about 2 new phd studentships. Please feel welcome to
circulate this information. Also, note the very title deadline: 12 Jan,


Finally, here are the project titles:

Prospects of immortality: public engagement with Biogerontology and
life/health span expansion (Ref.PHDMLM004)

Due to its broad application to a number of other sciences, biogerontology
is one of the most relevant fields of inquiry today. It speaks to the
convergence of the NBIC sciences and to the redefinition of health care that
arises by describing ageing as a disease to be cured, rather than a natural
process to accept. Biogerontology engages us with the prospect of extending
health or life span to an unknown degree and, as such, it is a controversial
discipline. Over the last ten years, work in this area has shifted from
scientific impossibility to becoming a core part of scientific endeavour. A
range of media coverage, from aspersion to fascination, has accompanied this
shift. In the literature on public understanding of science, there is no
research yet attending to this distinct, but profound area of scientific
inquiry. As such, this PhD studentship aims to explore the following

    * How has biogerontology been articulated though the media?
    * What issues surround the political economy of research into
    * How do different research communities orientate themselves around the
various media narratives on life-extension?
    * How do journalists report research on biogerontology?
    * What can be learned from this subject area to broadly inform work into
science communication?

Candidates should have a higher degree in science communication and
qualitative research methods in media sociology.

Director of Studies: Dr Andy Miah
External Adviser: Dr Aubrey de Grey

The ethics of human enhancement in film (Ref.PHDMLM005)

Studies in the ethics of human enhancement have advanced considerably in the
last five years through the emergence of new communities of scholarly
inquiry. A number of scientific disciplines have been brought under the
spotlight due to their likely use for lifestyle, non-therapeutic purposes.
The connections between filmic narratives and bioethics are made manifest in
recent cultural studies and can be linked to broader, literary origins. Yet,
there is very little research that investigates the range of narratives that
emerge on the ethics of human enhancement within film. This absence affects
the degree of complexity that is brought to how such debates are played out
in the media and in policy. This PhD explores the contribution of film to
such imaginations and aims to add complexity to our understanding of how
film conveys such alterations. It should also help us understand how film
functions as a posthuman device of expressing humanly experiences, such as
process of remembering, perceiving and the possible disruption of sensory
encounters. It also aims to explore the limitations of cultural reference
points within scientific policy making on the ethics of human enhancements,
exploring the range of metaphors, analogies and stories that contribute to
shaping the public understanding of science.

Candidates should have a higher degree and particular expertise in film
theory and technological fiction.

Director of Studies: Dr Andy Miah

Best wishes to all,


Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty, edited by Andy Miah
Liverpool University Press & FACT / University of Chicago Press
(Available from 11 December 2008 UK / 28 February 2009 USA).
ISBN: 978-1-84631-181-9 (HB), 350pp, 200+ images, 25 Chapters,

Dr Andy Miah | email@andymiah.net | http://www.andymiah.net |

Fellow, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT, Liverpool)

Reader in New Media & Bioethics
School of Media, Language and Music
University of the West of Scotland
Ayr Campus, KA8 0SR, UK

Fellow in Visions of Utopia and Dystopia
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) | http://ieet.org

[t] +44 7962 716 616 [f] +44 1292 886371 [e] email@andymiah.net

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