TIK9012 – The more-than-human condition: Valuations and care in immunology, biomedicine and politics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course will focus on different forms of doing ethnography, archive studies and document analysis, and how to combine interdisciplinary methods and work. Further, the course will engage with studying the relationship between science and politics. This involves engaging with cutting-edge theories and methods in science and technology studies (STS), such as care studies and valuation studies. To do this, the course brings together an international team of scholars with a deep knowledge of the field. Confirmed lecturers are Emily Martin, author of Flexible Bodies (1994), Ed Cohen, author of A Body Worth Defending (2009), Martina Schlünder, editor of and contributor to Boxes: A Field Guide (2020) and an expert on the work of immunologist Ludwig Fleck. The lecturers also include Mette Nordahl Svendsen, author of Near Human (2022), and Mie Seest Dam, expert in multispecies ethnography in and across lab and clinic. Together with the course organizers, Kristin Asdal and Tone Druglitrø, who will contribute with perspectives from their work on biopolitics, care and valuations (e.g. Humans, Animals and Biopolitics: The more-than-human condition, 2016), the lecturers will introduce you to their different ways of working. The course will also include a panel session with the biologist Kjetill S.Jakobsen and immunologist Shou-Wang Qiao from the convergence environment Comparative immunology of fish and humans (COMPARE, UiO Life Science).

Important dates:

Deadline for signing up for the course: October 4, 2021

Notification of acceptance to the course: October 8, 2021

Deadline for submission of course paper: November 15, 2021.

Course dates: December 6 - 9, 2021

Maximum number of course participants: 15

Learning outcome

  • Become familiar with cutting-edge theories and methods in STS, such as care studies, valuation studies, and more-than-human approaches
  • Become familiar with interdisciplinary methods to study science, medicine, and politics
  • Be able to contribute empirically and analytically to the research-field
  • Learn how to work with and analyze  handle complex data material


Students must be enrolled in a PhD programme. PhD students admitted to the TIK PhD programme will be prioritized.


Requirements for course participation

  • Submit and present a course paper
  • Attend the entire course week
  • Be main commentator of another paper
  • Take active part in discussions

The course paper

You are expected to submit a draft paper in advance of the course. The deadline for submitting course papers is November 15, 2021. Papers should be between 4000-5000 words, but note that this should be work in progress, and not a finished text.

The paper may be a draft empirical chapter or article as part of your dissertation, but not the introduction or theory/methods chapter alone. It would be good if the paper engages explicitly with methodological issues and how you try to analyze your empirical material. The papers will work as starting points for discussing our working methods – both with regard to the analysis of your empirical material and that of ‘writing up’ a paper. Participants are expected to read all draft papers in addition to the course literature. All papers will be pre-circulated. During the course week, your paper will be presented by one of the other participants and you will be the main commentator of another paper together with one of the lecturers.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Course organizers

Kristin Asdal (TIK) and Tone Druglitrø (TIK). The course is linked to the on-going research projects ResBod, ValueThreads, as well as COMPARE.

To sign up for the course, please send an email to: Research advisor Helena Seibicke, helena.seibicke@tik.uio.no. Please name the PhD programme you are enrolled, the theme of your PhD, and a few sentences on why this course is relevant for your project. PhD students admitted to the TIK PhD programme will be prioritized.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has displayed the close and vulnerable relationships between human and nonhuman bodies and immune systems. Making links and drawing boundaries between human and animal bodies, human and animal health, have always been crucial in establishing a politics of life. Science and politics are key locations where human and animal health are aligned, separated, cared for and valued.


This PhD course will explore, discuss, and experiment with different methods and analytical frameworks for investigating the ‘more-than-human’ condition. ‘More-than-human’ encounters take many forms and call for different conceptual and empirical approaches. Where and to which actors, objects, practices, and procedures do we go to study valuations and care practices in science, health, and politics?


Autumn 2021

Teaching language