Call for Applications: The Clinic and the Bank: Toward a Bioethics of the Information Revolution in Medicine, July 7-10, 2019


Sunday—Wednesday, July 7–10, 2019

The production of information technologies and the growing use of both these and advanced medical technologies have become key tools for categorization and the creation of social identities, to the point that medicine seems to be the 21st century’s new social science. True, the medicalization of life did not begin today, but the uses of big data have the power to amplify medicalization processes to the point that we can understand almost all of our actions, self-determination, and cultural surroundings in terms of health and illness. This has dramatic consequences for bioethics, which now faces the challenge of expanding its scope far beyond the clinic to the current uses of biobanks and genetic and medical data, as well as the potential uses of such big data in a neoliberal environment. 

This seminar aims to promote research cooperation between various disciplines on issues related to the ramifications of the rise of big data in medicine. The seminar is spearheaded by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, in conjunction with research centers at three Israeli universities: the Health, Humanism, and Society Center of the Negev and the School of Public Health at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the School for Public Policy and Government at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the STS program at Bar-Ilan University, with the sponsorship of the Israel Academy of Sciences. Among the topics we will discuss are aspects of political economy and power relations, commodification, the new digital subject, and biological citizenship. We would like to understand the transition between medicalization, commodification, the market, and the political field. We would also like to understand how bioethical discussions focusing on informed consent and privacy barely touch on these fundamental issues. 

Invited scholars:

Prof. Amy Fairchild, Columbia University

Prof. Klaus Høyer, University of Copenhagen

Prof. David Jones, Harvard University

Prof. Jonathan Metzel, Vanderbilt University


The four-day seminar will be held at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. We invite post-docs and PhD students in the social sciences, especially anthropology, critical sociology, and social history; information and communication; science and technology; public health; and medicine to discuss the revolutionary aspect of giant medical databases and their influence on the social sciences. The participants’ research will be presented and discussed at the seminar and there will be lectures by experts in the field. 


The Van Leer Jerusalem institute will provide overseas students up to $500 grant as partial reimbursement for their air travel expenses and accommodations in Jerusalem.

Application Information

Proposals must include:

  • Abstract of the research to be discussed (up to 500 words)
  • A short letter detailing the applicant’s areas of academic interest and how the proposed study is connected to the seminar topic
  • A short bio (10 lines max) and a list of publications (if applicable)

Submission deadline: February 15, 2019

Submit to:

Please note that we will be asking for pre-circulated papers by June 1, 2019 

Organizing Committee: Dr. Hagai Boas, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Prof. Dani Filc, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Dr. Limor Samimian Darash, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

For more information, please visit the Call for Applications here: