CFP: [Graduate] Constructing the Body, Constructing the Text: Litery and Scientific Discourses of the Human Body

full name / name of organization: 
University at Albany EGSO
contact email: 

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 by February 1st,
2008. For more information, visit our website:

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Received on Fri Dec 28 2007 - 09:13:27 EST