Today, technological developments are transforming the methods and scope of public health: from remote-sensing technologies to GPS-enabled mobile devices; from Internet surveillance systems to cloud computing. Hard tech innovations, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, are reconfiguring the basis of epidemic surveillance. The collection and storage of big data is opening up new possibilities, but raising new concerns. This two-day interdisciplinary workshop at the University of Hong Kong brings together researchers and practitioners from science and technology studies, public health, medicine, history, and anthropology to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that these technologies present. While the focus is primarily on Asia, participants will also consider comparative case studies from other regions to shed light on the issues at stake in the datafication of contemporary health.

Date: May 17 – 18, 2018
Venues: CPD 2.42, 2/F, The Jockey Club Tower, The University of Hong Kong
Room A2-08 (MTC), 2/F, William M.W. Mong Block, 21 Sassoon Road, The University of Hong Kong


CRF Project “Making Modernity in East Asia: Technologies of Everyday Life, 19th – 21st Centuries” (RGC CRF The University of Hong Kong C7011-16G), Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong

Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, The University of Hong Kong

School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Health Histories, University of York


May 17, 2018

Time Rundown
9:15 am – 9:30 am Welcome and Opening Remarks: Anarchitectures of Health
Robert Peckham (Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, HKU)

9:30 am – 10:15 am Global Health from Surveillance to Dataveillance: Tracking Contagion with Digital Biomarkers
Kirsten Ostherr (Rice University)

10:30 am – 12:15 pm Session 1: Phones
Chair: Thomas Abraham (Journalism and Media Studies Centre, HKU)

Going Mobile: A Digitally Connected Future for Healthcare
Valérian Turbé (University College London/i-sense)

Who Benefits from New Public Health Technology? Perspectives from the Thai-Myanmar Border
Daniel Parker (University of California, Irvine)

Mapping Social and Geographical Exclusion via Mobiles: Bounded Cosmopolitanism
Arul Chib (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)


2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Session 2: Drones
Chair: Mark Clifford (Asia Business Council/Department of History, HKU)

Mapping Infectious Disease Risks: A Case Study Using Drones for Epidemiological Research in Malaysian Borneo
Kimberly Fornace (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Yonah: The Story that Wasn’t Supposed to Happen
Ong Tian Chang and David Pong (Yonah, Singapore)

Implementation of a Drone Delivery Service
Ansgar Kadura (Wingcopter, Germany)

Vertical Geopolitics and the Futures of the Biomedical Drone
Robert Peckham and Ria Sinha (Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, HKU)


May 18, 2018

9:30 am – 10:45 am Session 3: Securing Health: From Device to Tool

Social Media: A Tool to Promote Childhood Influenza Vaccination?
Julie Qiuyan Liao (School of Public Health, HKU)

The Archipelago of Care: Connected Isolation in the Pan-African e-Network
Vincent Duclos (Drexel University)

11:00 am – 11:30 am Concluding Plenary

Phones, Drones and Global Health Security
Rosanna Peeling (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

11:30 am – 12:15 pm Roundtable Discussion

2:30 pm – 4:30 pm WHO Global Health Histories Seminar: Strategies of Anti-Panic: A New Approach to Epidemic Panic (Room A2-08 (MTC) 2/F William M.W. Mong Block, Faculty of Medicine Building, 21 Sassoon Road, The University of Hong Kong)

With the participation of:
Sanjoy Bhattacharya (Centre for Global Health Histories, University of York)
Keiji Fukuda (School of Public Health, HKU)
Kirsten Ostherr (Medical Futures Lab, Rice University)
Robert Peckham (Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, HKU)


Poster 1: International Workshop on “Phones, Drones & Disease”

Poster 2: Global Health Histories Seminar 106

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