UPDATE: [Graduate] Constructing the Body, Constructing the Text: Literary and Scientific Discourses of the Human Body

full name / name of organization: 
Lucas Hardy
contact email: 

Deadline extended: March 15

Constructing the Body, Constructing the Text:
Literary and Scientific Discourses of the Human Body
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Albany, NY
Keynote: David Wills, University at Albany

The University at Albany English Graduate Student Organization invites
papers for its annual conference. This year’s conference will explore
the intersections of literature and science of the human body in Western
culture. Throughout much of history, the body has been a priority for
writers of philosophy, science, and literature. Indeed, prior to
modernity, inquiry about the body was a vital part of philosophy in its
broadest sense. From prolific thinkers as varied as Hippocrates and
Judith Butler, Jonathan Edwards and Marquis de Sade, Foucault and Luce
Irigaray, the body and its behavior have generated a sprawling discourse
in the humanities which has lead to an evolving understanding of the
body’s importance to notions of subjectivity.

Problems posed by writers, physicians, and philosophers of the body
quickly leave their textual confines to become central concerns for the
culture at large, in many ways dissolving the binary composed by what we
have traditionally considered as either “scientific” or “literary”
discourses. The ways in which the body gets written into society define
how we think about pain and suffering, torture and corporal punishment,
reproductive rights, war, and poverty. Part of this conference’s task,
inevitably, will be to provoke the boundaries of literature, philosophy,
medicine, and law today, to see where responsibility for the discursive
body lies. Our aim will not be to assent to one conceptualization of the
body; rather, participants should offer new ways to understand how study
of the body remains vital to the humanities today.

Essays are sought on any aspect of bodily discourse, although particular
topics for consideration might include:

• Anatomical and physiological influences on literary texts
• Philosophical contemplations of the body
• Explorations of the intersections of medicine and literature
• Rhetorical studies of the body
• Disability studies
• Disease/epidemiology and literature
• Gender studies, emphasizing both femininity and masculinity
• Colonialism and the body
• Studies of historical and contemporary bio-cultures
• The interface of religion, the body, and literature
• The sexual body
• Literature by physicians
• The artifice of the body and/or the artificial body

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent to
egsoalbany_at_yahoo.com by March 15, 2008. Please label email subject
as "2008 conference." For more information, visit our website:

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