Engineering the Body in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (NeMLA, April 3-6, 2014, Harrisburg, PA; deadline September 30)

full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Perdigao
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NeMLA, April 3-6, 2014, Harrisburg, PA

Engineering the Body in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Discussing the impact of modernization and new technology on society, Tim Armstrong notes that the body became a “site of crisis” that required an “intervention through which it might be made the grounds of a new form of production” (4). Drawing on Armstrong’s claim for the modern period, this panel will examine how contemporary texts represent this “desire to intervene in the body” (6) and the results of those endeavors, both the possibilities and risks.

Our contemporary society is fascinated with representations of a postapocalyptic world, traceable in the critical and popular attention paid to works depicting a bleak landscape and embattled individuals and communities. Central to these stories is the body’s vulnerability and capacity to survive in a hostile landscape, often under the control of a corrupt system that utilizes new technologies. The contemporary world becomes a laboratory where individual bodies are experimented upon—augmented, fragmented, and even destroyed. From science fiction to more realistic works, the effects of new sciences and technologies can be traced on these bodies.

Borrowing Walter Benjamin’s categorization of an age, this panel will explore contemporary representations of the engineered body. Papers are sought that consider how contemporary works in literature, television, and film represent the relationship between technology and the body, highlighting how the body functions as a medium for creation and reconstruction in the postmodern world. Please send 250-500 word abstracts to Lisa Perdigao at by September 30, 2013.
All accepted panelists must be NEMLA members. For more information about the convention see

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