What can gender history and gender studies contribute to discussions about the relationships between the material and the fantastic? With this conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison February 21-22, we intend to examine the complicated interplay between the tangible realities that humans live and the imaginary spaces that affect how they see the world. Bodies, in particular, in all of their sexed and gendered variations, allow us to look closely at these interactions between material and imagined experience. Thus, this conference is interested in better understanding the ways in which capitalism, consumerism, culture and society shape and modify human bodies and desires, and how people, in turn, devise their own visions of the world and strive to realize them in material and bodily practice.
Our concepts of fantasy and the material are intentionally broad and open-ended. By invoking the material, for example, we hope to encourage discussions not just around bodies, but – among other possibilities – physical spaces and places, material objects, human senses, economic realities, and historical materialism. Likewise, our expansive and inclusive definition of fantasy is meant to spur discussions of visual images, advertisements, fictional genres of art and literature, notions of a better world, revolutions, movements, and change, broadly construed. Our conference is meant to spark conversations about the complex interaction of material bodies and contested fantasies and foster discussions about how these ideas figure in the future of gender history and gender studies.
We hope to build an interdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogue in the space of this conference. Although this conference is hosted by the Program in Gender and Women’s History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we hope to see presentations by graduate students from many fields, including (but not limited to) cultural studies, American studies, area studies, geography, environmental studies, philosophy, fields dealing with ethnicity, race, class, gender, and sexuality, disability studies, the history of science, legal studies, literature, the social sciences, media and communication, and, of course, history.
Potential paper topics include:
- interactions between material experience and imagined experience
- theories of the body, bodily experience, and desire
- movements, revolutions, change
- capitalism, consumerism, and mass culture / historical materialism
- gender, trans/gender, sexuality, reproduction
- race and ethnicity
- class and labor
- space and place, migrations
- commodities, marketplace, culture, society
- imagined communities and imagined pasts
- pedagogy and/or methodology
Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words and a brief bio of no more than 100 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1, 2013. We welcome submissions from individuals as well as panels. Conference applicants will be notified in early January.
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