Fusing elements of Kafka and Kubrick, Caterpillarplasty is a prescient, grotesque sci-fi satire that lifts plastic surgery to another level. A powerful and sardonic take on a social obsession with beauty that’s spiralled out of control.
During the first decades of the twenty-first century, the proliferation of life as a generative possibility has become marked by the spectre of #death, closure, denial and ends. Ours is an era of precarity, extinction, militarised inequality, a seemingly boundless war on terror, the waning legitimacy of human rights, a rising consciousness of animal cruelty and consumer complicity in killing and suffering, and the global closure of decolonial and socialist windows of emancipation. Artificial intelligence and post-human technology-flesh interventions have become sources of existential threat to be secured against, rather than means of freeing, or otherwise expanding life. Mbembe (2003) first developed the notion of necropolitics in relation to ‘assemblages of death’, zones where technology, economy and social structures bind together to reproduce patterns of extreme violence. Following Foucault, he envisaged a distribution of the world into life zones and death zones. While we can readily identify zones of life and death on these terms, the imaginaries of death have increasingly colonised life zones.
This conference seeks to embrace this moment in history in all its roiling complexity, challenge, and specificity. It asks what accounts for this current interest in the spectre of Death in the anthropological imagination? What sorts of life—social, cultural, technological, creative—emerge in spaces pregnant with death and other life-ending spectres? What new horizons of fear, hope and possibility emerge? What kinds of new social formations, subjectivities and cultural imaginaries? What social and cultural forms might an affirmative biopolitics, where the power of life is regained from the spectre of death, take? What new strategies of engagement, activism and refusal?
This year, the AAS encourages the submission of proposals for three types of formats. The Call for Panels and roundtables is now open and will close at 23:59 AEST (GMT/UTC + 10:00) on 7 May. The Call for Labs and the Call for Papers will open on 21 May.
Send Lawyers, Guns and Money: Is Organised Crime (Yakuza) the Reason Japan Is the Safest Country in the World?
Speaker: Kent Anderson, Professor of Law and Japanese Studies, The University of Western Australia
Japan is the safest country in the world (when measured by violent crime rates) and has the greatest success with managing crime (when measured by rates of recidivism). How has it achieved this?
This discussion will rely on the four paradigms of Japanese law (ie, Culturalism, Structuralism, Managerialism, and Rationalism) to try to resolve the question, paying particular attention to the role of Japanese organised crime (yakuza) within the seeming enigma of Japanese criminal justice. I conclude with the normative questions of whether the negative associations of organised crimes can be justify by associated positives, and whether the #yakuza is a culturally unique structure that leaves no lessons for how other countries might seek to regulate organised crime and reproduce the safe society of Japan.