CFP: [Graduate] Literature and the Body

full name / name of organization: 
Veronique Dorais
contact email: 

Literature and the Body:
Inside, Outside, and Between the Skin

“Why should our bodies end at the skin, or include at best other beings
encapsulated by skin?” Donna Haraway, A Manifesto for Cyborgs

“And the men stepped out in colours up to their necks, pulling wet hides
out after them so it appeared they had removed the skin from their own
bodies. They had leapt into different colours as if into different
countries.” Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion

The focus on the body in literature is nothing new to literary studies.
As Judith Butler notes in her introduction to Bodies That Matter “certain
classical tensions are taken up in contemporary theoretical positions”
(17). From the Renaissance to recent literature, the body serves as both
a literal image and figurative trope to embody political, theoretical,
cultural, sociological, and literary discourses that question the
construction and deconstruction of identity. The portrayal of skin as a
semiotic symbol complicates the epistemological framework of the body.
What is the relationship between the body and the skin? How do the body
and the skin resist confining structures of classification? Or as argued
by Claudia Benthien in Skin: On the Cultural Border Between Self and
World, how has skin become more and more an unyielding symbol?

This panel seeks papers on the body and the skin as sites for ideological
inscriptions. How has the cultural and metaphorical significance of the
body/skin changed in literature, philosophy, theory, medicine, etc?
Papers on the body, on skin, or combining both topics, are welcome.

Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to, the

- texts as bodies/bodies as text
- symbolic skin
- politics of bodies/skin
- performativity and the body
- bodies as sites of cultural production
- bodily Others
- literary bodies (canonicity)
- scripting skin/writing on the body
- monstrosity/grotesque
- history and the body
- health/disease
- abject/subject
- collective bodies

Please submit 250 word proposals (for papers approx. 15 minutes in
length) to panel chair Veronique Dorais at
Attachments should be in Rich Text or Word format only, and please
include your name, professional affiliation, and contact information in
the body of your email. Deadline for proposals is February 18th, 2008.

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Received on Sun Jan 20 2008 - 12:18:43 EST