Department of Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference
A.D. White House
September 17-18, 2004
Department of Art and Art History, University of California, Davis www.lynnhershman.com
Recent developments in political and popular culture offer provocative examples of bodies that form, deform, and reform perception and thought. From the status of bodies in journalistic accounts of the invasion of Iraq to the proliferation of technologically controlled or altered bodies in films like The Matrix and X-men, the body continues to be invoked as subject, structure, and trope in order to redefine and challenge the ways we think about venues and boundaries for perception and thought. The goal of this conference is to generate discussion around the human body's formation and function as a subject, analog, source, and obstacle for thought. How have different communities of discourse emphasized one or another of these functions, and what do their choices reveal about the ways in which they resist and/or appropriate structures of power and authority? Why might different communities emphasize the body as more or less permeable, as more or less autonomous, as more or less distinct or definable?
We are interested in proposals for papers that discuss the body as a locus for rethinking disciplinary boundaries, examining the ways that the body exemplifies theoretical or institutional limits or presents challenges for those limits.
How does the body function as an analogy or metaphor in political, social, economic, and scientific discourses?
How have theories of the materiality of the medium defined and defied bodies and their limits?
How have diseased bodies, disabled bodies, and disfigured bodies been mobilized in the evolving discourses of democracy and technocracy?
How have theories of cinematic, digital, and virtual bodies informed our understanding of textual bodies? How has the body been remapped by theories of globalization?
What has the role of the body been in the formation of the fields of feminist studies, queer studies, and postcolonial studies?
How has the discourse of terror organized and/or disorganized the body?
What is the role of imagined bodily boundaries and excesses in the classroom?
How has the figure of the traumatized body influenced the study of the body in other disciplines?
What are the spatial, temporal, and perspectival conditions for bodies proposed by aesthetic and cultural theories of the sublime and/or the sacred?
We invite proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers that respond to these questions or raise other questions regarding the status of the body in contemporary thought. Please send a one-page abstract as a Microsoft Word attachment to Lisa Patti and Cristina Dahl via email by May 1, 2004. Please include your name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, and university affiliation.
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