Material and Imagined Bodies
The 5th Annual Brown University Graduate Student Conference
Key Note Speaker: Dagmar Herzog
April 16-17, 2010
In recent decades scholars across disciplines have begun to exhume the significance of "the body". Body scholarship emerged largely out of studies on gender and sexuality but has expanded to engage many other issues including race, ethnicity, health, reproduction, and medicine. As with gender and sexuality, the ambiguous relationship between material and imagined bodies has generated exciting histories and theories of the body, as well as analyses of its representation in literature, painting, film, music, and theater. This should hardly be surprising as almost every major theorist from post-structuralism to the present (Foucault, Agamben, Butler, Žižek, Bakhtin, Bourdieu, Deleuze, Derrida, Geertz, Lacan, and Lyotard) has weighed-in on the significance of the body. As a unique topic of inquiry the body has proven to be a fruitful, if contested, analytical category.
What's next for the body? This conference seeks to generate new perspectives and showcase what the next generation of graduate students is saying about the body. What methodologies are being used and into what new fields might body scholarship venture? Given all the contemporary political debates focused on conceptions of the healthy body, the issue of the body is not soon to dissipate from politics or scholarship. In fact, the body's fashionability forces scholars to wrestle even harder to explain how they conceive of the body and where its significance lies. Finally, we must not evade out own corporality. We live in an era that finds disembodied, disinterested, dispassionate knowledge to be illusory, but we have yet to come to terms with the embodied-ness of the knowledge we produce. What, then, is the significance of embodied knowledge?
Potential paper topics include, but are not limited to historical and/or theoretical explorations of:
- Health, Hygiene, and Medicine
- Gender and Sexuality
- Race and Ethnicity
- Emotion and Experience
- The Body as a Metaphor of Society
- Artistic Representations of the Body
- Embodied vs. Disembodied Knowledge
- The Human Sciences
- Pain and Punishment
- Biopower and Biopolitics
Interested graduate students should submit a 250-word abstract by January 15, 2010. Each proposal should clearly state its relevancy to the conference theme. Candidates proposing full panels should also include a 150-word abstract on the organizing theme of the proposed panel. Successful candidates will be notified by early February and should submit final papers by March 31, 2010.
Email proposals to: TheBrownBodyConference@Gmail.com. Questions should be directed toward Jon Gentry (Jonathan_Gentry@Brown.edu).
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