Biopolitics: Bodies, Health and Food

A.Y. 2021/2022
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
M-FIL/05
Language
English
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to provide students with the core knowledge and understanding of philosophical theories that adapt concepts from the life sciences to address issues related to civic society and its institutions. The acquired competences and notions are of use for activities that primarily rest on logical reasoning, activities of communication, and editorial activities.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of the course, the student has acquired a general understanding of the concepts from the life sciences that are employed in reference to civic society and its institutions. In addition, the student understands a body of philosophical arguments related to the application of such concepts, can outline possible objections to these arguments and possible solutions to those objections.

Ability to Apply Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of the course, the student is able to formulate original philosophical problems in connection to the concepts and the language of biopolitics, to suggest plausible solutions to those problems and to spell out such solutions in details.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
During the ongoing covid emergency, the course syllabus will be maintained with the following changes made to enhance the effectiveness of the online version of the course, which was originally designed for face-to-face teaching.
The lessons will be held in dual mode. The face-to-face lessons will allow the participation of students connected with MSTeams as well as students in the classroom. The recordings of the lessons will remain available for the entire semester.

Online environments used:
Ariel : https://aborghinibbhf.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v5/home/Default.aspx
Team: Semiotica Fall 2021 (CODE: zfu5cp0)

Students wishing to participate in face-to-face lessons must refer to the following University provisions:
https://www.unimi.it/en/study/bachelor-and-master-study/following-your-programme-study/teaching-activities-campus

Students wishing to participate in MSTeams lessons must refer to the following technical guides: https://www.unimi.it/en/study/student-services/technology-and-online-services/microsoft-office-365-education

To participate in the exam sessions, students must refer to the following provisions:
https://www.unimi.it/en/study/bachelor-and-master-study/following-your-programme-study/sitting-exams
Course syllabus
Specific aspects of a human body, like skin color or primary sexual traits, have played a substantial function in defining the political agency of individuals and groups as well as in shaping societal institution. In this course we study the ideas and arguments that found the attribution of political significance to certain biological conditions, rethinking the role that such conditions have or should have. The course builds on the examination of several classical and contemporary case studies and readings, which relate to specific aspects of human bodies, human health, and human diets.
Prerequisites for admission
None.
Teaching methods
Classes will consist of a mix of lecturing and seminarial discussion. They will make use of slides, videos and images. Class materials will be made available on the Ariel site for the course.
Teaching Resources
The following readings are common to both programs (6CFU and 9CFU):
Mbembe, Necropolitics (2003)
Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Chapters 1 and 2 (2007)
Borghini & Casetta, Philosophy of Biology, Chapter 8 (2019)
Fausto-Sterling, "The Five Sexes" (1993)
Butler, "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution" (1990)
Spencer, "Racial Realism I: Are Biological Races Real?"
Spencer, "Racial Realism II: Are Folk Races Real?"
Agrest, "Achitecture From Without: Body, Logic, and Sex" (1988)
Low, "Placemaking and Embodied Space" (2014)
Karimi, "Dwelling, Dispute, and the Space in Modern Iran" (2012)
Sen, "Walking the Field in Milwaukee" (2020)
Hall et al., "Implicit Racial/Ethnic Bias" (2015)
Criado Perez, Invisible Women, Chapters 10 and 11 (2019)
Beaudry, "Beyond (Models of) Disability?" (2016)
Bracken & Thomas, "From Szasz to Foucault: On the Role of Critical Psychiatry" (2010)
Murphy, The Economization of Life, Chapters 1-4, 10 (2017)
Kukla, "Finding Autonomy in Birth" (2009)
Barnhill et al., "The Value of Unhealthy Eating and the Ethics of Healthy Eating Policies" (2014)
Thompson, From Field to Fork, Chapter 3 (2015)
Barnhill & Bonotti, Eating Our Way Through Liberalism, Chapters 2, 5-7 (2020)
Stefánsdóttir, "Three Positions on the Fat Body" (2020)
Degeling, Dawson, Gilbert, "The Ethics of One Health" (2019)
Shue & Arnold, "Human rights, climate change, and the trillionth ton" (2011)
Bonotti et al., "Justice and the Spaces of Eating Out", ms.

The following texts are in program only for students taking the course for 9CFU:
Asta, "The Metaphysics of Sex and Gender" (2011)
Haslanger, Resisting Reality, Chapters 7-11 (2012)
Foucault, "Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias" (1967)
Burgess, Cappelen, Plunkett "Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics" (2020)
Fibieger Byskov, "What Makes Epistemic Injustice an "Injustice"?" (2020)
Jarvis-Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion" (1971)
Dean, "In Defense of Mindless Eating" (2020)
Borghini, Piras, Serini, "Food, Philosophy, and Climate Change" (2021)
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final exam consists of a final paper as well as an oral exam. Papers will be 3000/4000 words (6CFU) or 5000/6000 words (9CFU) in length and address a specific topic agreed upon with the professor. Detailed guidelines will be distributed in the Ariel site for the course. The final exam will test student's acquisition of the central concepts discussed throughout the course as well as the student's ability to construct arguments and to reason on the ideas discussed during the course.
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/05 - PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LANGUAGE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Borghini Andrea
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/05 - PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LANGUAGE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Borghini Andrea
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/05 - PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LANGUAGE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Professor: Borghini Andrea
Educational website(s)
Professor(s)
Reception:
Ice Courtyard, Attic.