Antibiotic resistance is today acknowledged as one of the greatest challenges for modern medicine. Dystopic visions are prevalent, the fear of a future epidemic for which no treatment is available widespread, and terms such as “superbugs”, confer a special agency to multiresistant microbes. In other areas of medicine, the future is defined in opposition to the past as the “place” where solutions are realized, presence manifested, and wrongs righted”. However, in the treatment of infectious disease it is the past which has these glorious futures (”magic bullet”, ”golden age of medicine)”.
Hopes or fears for a future do not only describe expectations, they are also part of the way these futures (our present) are brought into being. They are performative in the sense that they mobilize the interest of allies and define political agendas, and therefore particularly interesting to study. However, they are largely unexplored as such in the history of medicine. This conference intends to explore the changing expectations of antibiotics over time. It will explore past (and some present) dreams, hopes and fears for the future, in the clinic, in politics, and in the laboratory settings.
For full programme details see here.