This interdisciplinary one-day conference will seek to address the study of American bodies and the meanings that have been attached to them in different time periods and locations from the pre-colonial era to the present day. Acknowledging the centrality of the body as a category of analysis in a variety of academic disciplines, we will use this focus to, firstly, foster debate on meanings attached to American bodies and insights that can be gained from their study, and secondly, to explore new and established theories and methodologies. Papers should include both of these elements. We welcome proposals with a focus on any area of North America.
Topics may include, but are not limited to an engagement with the following ideas:
• Intersections between ‘race’, region, gender, migration, nation, sexuality, disability, and class as manifested or performed through the body
• Embodiment as experience, as a process, as a problem
• Forces and discourses coordinating bodies in time and space
• The commodification, pathologisation, objectification, categorisation, regulation, surveillance, extermination, display and performance of the body
• Current body-related issues such as exercise, obesity, cosmetic enhancement, pornography, addiction, amputation, and abortion
• The value and relevance of non-human bodies – animal, insect, alien, cyborg, plastic and post-human - to the study of American society and culture
• Deviant bodies, dysfunctional bodies, disembodiments, bodies and emotions, transnational bodies, environments and the body, bodies and senses, experimental bodies, workers’ bodies, violence and the body, and dead bodies.
We encourage proposals from postgraduates and early career researchers, particularly those in the North West. Papers should be 20 minutes in length, and the deadline for proposals is 30 August 2013. Please send a 250 word abstract of your paper, together with a one-page CV to email@example.com. Successful papers/proposals will be informed by 6 September 2013. Postgraduates and early-career researchers may apply for bursaries to attend the conference provided through the support of the AHRC. Speakers will receive preference. The conference will be hosted by the University of Liverpool on Friday 25 October 2013.
The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Susan Currell of the University of Sussex, editor and contributor to Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s (2006), and author of The March of Spare Time: The Problem and Promise of Leisure in the Great Depression (2005), and American Culture in the 1920s (2009).
RCAS North-West is a joint postgraduate initiative based at the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester, which aims to promote the study of the United States and forge links between Americanists in all North West universities. For more details see rcasnorthwest.wordpress.com or our twitter page @rcasnorthwest.
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