CFP: The Embodied Canon (grad) (4/1/06; 5/19/06)

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The Embodied Canon
The 17th Annual Southland Graduate Student Conference
UCLA English Department
Friday, May 19, 2006

This conference seeks to explore the logic behind, and the consequences
of, constructing literary canons around specific types of bodies. What
is gained, and what is lost, by assigning writers to canons of race,
gender, sexuality, and disability? What determines inclusion in an
embodied canon – the writer’s body or the represented body? How do we
locate fictional bodies that don’t fit into prescribed literary
categories – bi-racial, bi-sexual, and/or transgendered bodies? What
is the canon’s relationship to eccentric, diseased, and highly stylized
bodies? Ultimately we seek submissions which investigate the
materialism of the body, and which comment upon the gap between the
material body and the literary and political significance these bodies
are made to wear. Possible fields of inquiry include but are not
limited to:

►Race and materialism: can the raced and/or racialized body be
safely de-politicized or dislocated from the idea of ethnicity?

►Transgressive bodies: bodies that disrupt and intentionally
violate social norms, such as overweight, unhygenic, and
ambiguously-gendered bodies.

►Eccentric bodies: how are disabled bodies represented in the
traditional canon? In a literary text, when, how, and where do
eccentric bodies move from being symbols to having an interiority of
their own?

►Diseased bodies: how are bodies marked by diseases (such as
AIDS, tuberculosis, cancer, and other venereal diseases)? What is the
psychology behind a body marked by disease or those who closely observe
bodies marked by disease?

►What is the relationship between disabled bodies and diseased
bodies, if any at all? Is “eccentric” an appropriate category of

►Canon formation: what are the politics of representation behind
traditional and nontraditional canons and what are the practicalities
of their formations?

►Canon compartmentalization: what are the effects of separating
out canons dedicated to the representations of putatively non-normative
bodies? What are the intersections of these various distilled canons?

►The queer canon: what is the current state of queer theory and
queer studies? Has gay literature formed a canon of its own? Does the
increasing number of university classes dedicated to the teaching of
“gay literature” undermine the politics of queer fluidity? How does
queer theory resist or submit to pedagogical traditions?

►The sexual vs. the sexualized body: do contemporary canons make
a space for the sexual body? Does the sexual body always carry the
negative connotation of objectification?

►Passing bodies: what types of bodies “pass”? How do bodies that
are culturally considered “other” pass as normative and what is the
purpose and politics of their representation?

►The embodied voice: how do gender, race, and/or sexuality “body”
an objective or authorial voice? How and when does a white male
heterosexual voice become embodied?

Abstracts for 20-minute papers and panel proposals are due by April 1,
2006. Please paste the abstract (200-300 words) or panel proposal into
the body of an e-mail and submit it to Please put
the title of the abstract in the e-mail header. Panels should consist
of three papers and may include a respondent. Include your name(s),
contact information, department(s), and institution(s). Thank you.

Southland Conference
co-chairs Lana Finley and Aaron Gorelik
UCLA English Department

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Received on Tue Mar 07 2006 - 18:21:14 EST

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