RDG Conference Report of Kaira Zoe A. Cañete

Write up about the Conference

This international conference was held in the city of Buenos, Aires, Argentina, from August 28-31, 2013. The setting of the conference is the famed Bauen Hotel, which closed in 2001 as a result of an economic crisis in Argentina but was later rescued and is now managed by its own workers. The opening ceremony was hosted by the University of Buenos Aires Department of Social Sciences.

The conference is organized jointly by the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture, and Sexuality (IASSCS) and the Study Group on Sexualities of the Social Sciences School of the University of Buenos Aires. The main focus of the conference was the increasing commodification of sexuality and the emerging political economies of the body. The various conference subthemes included:

  • Selling the body: Sexed economic relations and commodified sexual relations
  • Love as a political discourse
  • Production of sexual knowledge: theories and research on sexualities
  • The institutional (ex)change market; the law policies, education, and religion
  • Sexuality as a health issue
  • Heterosexualities vs. heteronormativities
  • Artistic production lines: transgression or abjection?

In line with the IASSCS’ mission, the conference sought to promote links between researchers, academics, advocates and activists by addressing the process of taking theory into practice, conceptualizing the meaning and significance of advocacy at the national and community level, and supporting and advancing the implementation of sexual rights.

Feedback on paper presented

My paper was presented in a special session which showcased the research results of the first cohort of the Emerging Scholars International Research Fellowship Grant of which I had the privilege to be among the first 10 grantees for 2012, and the only one from the Philippines.

In general, my paper was very well-received. The discussant for our panel commented how well my work was able to exemplify Michel Foucault’s theorizing about biopower and biopolitics. By showing how current humanitarian interventions in post-disaster contexts are anchored on managerial and medico-technical narratives (especially with regard to sexual and reproductive health), I demonstrated how biopolitics came to play in the everyday life of disaster survivors living in camps. Much interest was also expressed in my use of non-conventional data gathering methods which including participatory activities such as body-mapping and free interpretation of photographs. My abstract was also among those selected for publication in the special conference issue of th journal, Culture, Health ans Society.

The positive feedback I received for my paper encouraged me to continue and develop further my analysis and theorizing on the intersections of sexual and reproductive rights, post-disaster management and development.

Future directions of research presented

I have already submitted my paper to an ISI-listed journal and it has so far received very positive reviews. I hope to have my work published within the year. Moreover, I aim to develop and enhance this research in preparation for my application for a PhD. program abroad. As a result of my presentation, I was invited to submit a research proposal and apply for an Australia-based University for further studies.

Potential foreign collaborators

As a result of my participation in the conference, I made significant contact with organizations such as the Sexuality Policy Watch and other well know researchers and scholars in the field of sexuality studies and promotion of sexual rights. I am now in constant communication with them for future collaborative studies and have found mentors in Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York, and Sonia Correa, co-chair of the Sexuality Policy Watch.

Other important contacts and insights

I have made contact with Professors from the La Trobe University who have expressed interest in my work as well as acquainted with a representative from the Ford Foundation who partly funded the conference. I believe that bu widening my network of scholars and researchers, I can facilitate more international linkages to UP in general.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

The following is a short feature-type news for the purposes of publicizing my participation in the conference:

Kaira Zoe K. Alburo-Cañete, Assistant Professor of Gender and Development at the University of the Philippines, recently presented a paper at the 9th Biennal Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) on August 28-31, 2013 in Buenos Aires Argentina.

Titled “Sex and the Marketplace: What’s Love got to do with it? the 9th Biennial Meeting focused on the increasing commodification of social and sexual relationships in both sexual/erotic and emotional dimensions. Such commodification calls for new attention to the political economy of the body, analysis of the market value of bodies and of the activities in which those bodies are involved, and of the multiple markets and marketplaces in which gender, sexualities, health and rights are produced and reproduced.

Ma. Alburo-Cañete’s paper “Bodies at risk: ‘Managing’ sexuality and reproduction in the aftermath of disaster in the Philippines”. examines the body in the context of the intersection of sexual and reproductive health, development, and human rights in managing post-disaster relief and rehabilitation operations in the Philippines. This research was funded by IASSCS as part of the first cohort of the Emerging Scholars International Research Fellowship Grant in 2012. Ms. Alburo-Cañete was among the 10 out of 160 applicants from different countries who were selected to received this award