Feeling the Body Politic: Affect & Aesthetics (MADLIT 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
December 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Graduate Student Association of the English Department at UW Madison
contact email: 

Madison Graduate Conference on English Language & Literature 2019
CFP: Feeling the Body Politic: Affect & Aesthetics
Feb 22-23, 2019
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Robert McRuer, George Washington University

Everything is terrible, and nobody feels good. This isn't a particularly new state of affairs-- except that this is the state of affairs that we have to live through. The bodies that constitute us and that we constitute have always been porous, negotiable, contingent. Is there a particular difference, then, to the present moment, which sees the ceaseless and increasing precarity of Black, brown, queer, crip, trans bodies, and of bodies of assembly, and which colonizes even this porousness, this negotiability, and this contingency? Or have things always been like this, and we’re only noticing it now as more of us are unevenly drafted into the ranks of the precariat? Is there a queer potentiality to this contingent moment, and if so, what do we do with it? Given the way things are now, where do we want our bodies of work to be, what do we want them to do, and how do we want them to feel?


We invite papers from within, across, and beyond the humanities that engage with or respond to the vexed tensions between affect, aesthetics, politics, and embodiment, taken as a constellation or a corpus, collectively or singly, or as you will. In addition to the conference’s overarching themes of bodies, politics, aesthetics, and affects, we would welcome papers that engage such diverse topics as:


  • Affect and the public sphere

  • Performance and activism

  • Bodies politic, embodied politics, necrotic bodies

  • The feeling of the anthropocene, and other scenes

  • Crip, queer, trans, Black sensoria

  • Virtual collectives, social media, and new subjectivities

  • Postcolonial and subaltern embodiments

  • compositions and decompositions

  • Histories of the body and histories of the body politic

  • The transnationalization or globalization of the public sphere

  • Early modern and premodern precarities

  • Aestheticism and radicalism

  • Misappropriations of the past by the present


Graduate students from any and all disciplines with research on these topics are encouraged to submit abstracts for panel presentations of 10-15 minutes. (We anticipate panels on, but not limited, to the Black Atlantic, the long nineteenth century, disability in medieval literature, orientalisms, labour history and literature, renaissance performance, and crip theory & queer time; please feel free to indicate your interest in presenting in these contexts.) Abstracts should include a title and a summary of your argument, and be no more than 250 words. Please also include your name and institutional affiliation. Abstracts due as .pdf attachments emailed to uwmadlit@gmail.com by December 30th at the latest.