The Somatechnics of Race

Abstract deadline: June 30th, 2022

This special issue of Somatechnics calls for contributions that critically examine and challenge the somatechnics of race. Somatechnics focuses on the role of bodies, technologies, and power. Where and how does race figure in this nexus? Important contributions to the somatechnics of race include the landmark essay, ‘The somatechnics of race and whiteness’ (2009) from Joseph Pugliese and Susan Stryker. Here the authors outline a conceptual approach to race and whiteness as ‘somatechnical practices’ (p. 4) vis-à-vis the work of Michel Foucault. Pugliese and Stryker argue somatechnics connects Foucault’s identification of the ‘anatamo-political’ exercise of power on individual bodies and biopower’s exercise on the ‘mechanisms of life’ at the level of the population (2009, p. 3). That is, the racialisation of bodies as a somatechnics links the individual disciplinary role of racism and racial identification to the broader population and state functioning of racial demographics and state violence. In another theoretical vein, Suvendrini Perera and Puglise (2011) have utilised Frantz Fanon’s experiential accounts of racism necessitating combat breathing (1970), which can be understood as a phenomenonological account of the somatechnologies of race. Elaine Laforteza has extended the conceptualisation of the somatechnics of race and colonialism to include religious and secular dimensions (2015). Pugliese’s recent work situates the genealogies of racio-speciesism within the ontological distinctions between the human and non-human (2020) with somatechnical applications. Studies on the somatechnologies of medicine (Hvidtfeldt et al., 2021), cinema (Keegan, Horak & Steinbock, 2018), and sport (Hokowhitu, 2021) have also contributed to investigations of the different formations of the somatechnics of race. Further applications of the somatechnics of race could consider ‘land technologies of terra nullius’ (Curley, 2021, p. 388) and their spatialisation and racialisation of First Nations. Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s instrumental conceptualisation of white possession as foundational to racial supremacy and the negation of Indigenous sovereignties (2015) has continuing relevance to the somatechnologies of race and coloniality as well as Foucauldian understandings of biopower. How the somatechnologies of race are embedded in infrastructural violence and the social categorisations (van der Tuin and Randell-Moon, 2019) of data and human services are also productive sites of inquiry. What are the new and old forms of racialisation made possible by somatechnologies? Possible topics for this special issue can include but are not limited to:

  • coloniality, raciality, and settler colonisation
  • Indigenous existentialism (see Hokowhitu, 2009)
  • algorithmic technologies of race
  • infrastructural racism
  • organisational and institutional racism
  • sovereignties and racialisation
  • multimodalities and media of race
  • platform racism
  • spatial technologies and geographies of race

Abstracts will be considered on a rolling basis until June 30*^th *. Full papers of 6,000-7,000w are due September 30^th . Please send abstracts and all inquiries to Dr. Holly Randell-Moon at: (hrandell-moon /at/


Curley, A. (2021). Infrastructures as colonial beachheads: The Central Arizona Project and the taking of Navajo resources. /Environment and Planning D: Society and Space/, /39/(3), 387-404. Fanon, F. (1970). /A Dying Colonialism/, trans. H. Chevalier. Ringwood: Pelican. Hokowhitu, B. (2009). Indigenous existentialism and the body. /Cultural Studies Review/, /15/(2). Hokowhitu, B. (2021). Indigenous Materialisms and /Disciplinary Colonialism/. /Somatechnics/, /11/(2), 157-173. Hvidtfeldt, K., Nebeling Petersen, M., Møller, K. & Bruun Eriksen, C. (2021). Medicalised Masculinities–Somatechnical Interventions. /Somatechnics/, /11/(1), 1-9. Keegan, C. M., Horak, L. & Steinbock, E. (2018). Cinematic/Trans*/Bodies (and Then, and to Come)./Somatechnics/, /8/(1), 1-13. Laforteza, E. (2015). /The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege/. Farnham: Ashgate. Moreton-Robinson, A. (2015). /The white possessive: property, power, and Indigenous sovereignty/. London: University of Minnesota Press. Perera, S. & Pugliese, J. (2011). Introduction: Combat Breathing: State Violence and the Body in Question. /Somatechnics/, /1/(1), 1-14. Pugliese, J. (2020). /Biopolitics of the More-Than-Human: Forensic Ecologies of Violence/. Durham: Duke University Press. Pugliese, J. & Stryker, S. (2009). The somatechnics of race and whiteness. /Social Semiotics/, /19/(1), 1-8. van der Tuin, I. & Randell-Moon, H. (2019). The Somatechnics of Social Categorizations. /Somatechnics/, /9/(2-3), v-xi.