Body: Between Materiality and Power. Deadline: 20 January 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Nasheli Jimenez del Val / Universitat de Barcelona
contact email: 

Interdisciplinary Seminar
Body: Between Materiality and Power

Departament d'Història de l'Art, Universitat de Barcelona
26 February 2014, Barcelona, Spain

Organized by:
Art, Globalization, Interculturality (AGI), Universitat de Barcelona
within the Beatriu de Pinós Postdoctoral Fellowship programme (2010 BP_B 00021),
with support from l'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, Paris, France

Keynote Speaker: Marina Gržinić, philosopher, artist and theoretician. Research director at the Institute of Philosophy at the Scientific and Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia (ZRC-SAZU), and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Institute of Fine Arts, Conceptual Art, in Austria.

Historically, the body has been at the core of religious and philosophical discourses on what it means "to be human". From its allegorization as the mystical body of Christ (Saint Paul, Saint Augustine) to the Cartesian dualism of body-mind (1647, 1649), the body has been a trope through which the relationships between internal/external, subject/object, nature/culture, and inclusion/exclusion become crystalized. Correspondingly, the body has been a recurrent metaphor for political organization and social integration in texts such as Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651). Thinkers such as Michel Foucault (1963, 1975, 1976-84) have unbuilt the binary construction of body/soul-mind through concepts such as biopower, the disciplinary society and the docile body by focusing on the relationships established between the body and power. More recently, several authors have elaborated on Foucault's work in order to develop a wider theory of biopolitics (Hardt & Negri 2005) and necropolitics (Mbembe 2003). Other authors have focused on the link between body and coloniality in order to reveal the complicities between the Occidental imaginary and the labour relations in the colonies (Quijano 2000).

The interdisciplinary seminar Body: Between Materiality and Power aims to localize and problematize the points of tension implicated in these diverse conceptualizations of the body. By proposing materiality and power as two polarities through which the body is mobilized, this seminar seeks to highlight the interstitial function of the body as a mediator between materiality and politics beyond the body/soul-mind dichotomy. Specifically, the seminar aims to bring together complex and problematized analytical approaches to representations of the body in diverse media, such as (but not limited to): visual arts, television, film, literature, architecture, dance, and theatre. As a result, and seeking to highlight the interdisciplinary dimension of the seminar, we invite researchers, postgraduate students and cultural workers in the areas of: art history, media studies, sociology, philosophy, architecture and urbanism studies to send a presentation proposal according to the following details:


We welcome papers that consider the body through theoretical, interdisciplinary, and/or case study analyses.
Please send: 1) a 300 word abstract, 2) a brief biography, and 3) contact details; to Nasheli Jiménez del Val at [Subject: Body] by 20 January, 2014.
We will notify authors of the status of their proposal by 30 January 2014.