UPDATE: [Graduate] The Body In Pain and Pleasure, OSU Comparative Studies Department

full name / name of organization: 
Rachel A. Wortman
contact email: 

Hosted by the Department of Comparative Studies
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH USA
16 January 2009


As our lives are increasingly characterized by disembodied and mediated
experiences, how is it that the individual comes to know pain and pleasure?
 For the person in pain, Elaine Scarry famously argues, "'having pain' may
come to be thought of as the most vibrant example of what it is to 'have
certainty,' while … hearing about pain may exist as the primary model of
what it is 'to have doubt.'" In other words, she argues that certainty is
contingent upon the experiential reality of the body. Though Scarry is
specifically addressing pain in the context of torture here, this same
logic might be extended to pleasure â€" that to 'have certainty' of pleasure
necessitates embodied experience. In terms of seeking certainty, Aristotle
noted in Nicomachean Ethics "bodily pleasures are pursued by people who are
incapable of experiencing other pleasures." In an age, however, when
individuals are increasingly divorced from their bodies, how are pain and
pleasure known or understood?

Keynote speaker, Ariel Glucklich is Professor in the Theology Department at
Georgetown University and specializes in Hinduism, Psychology of Religion,
and Anthropology of Religion. He is interested in a wide range of issues
including classical Indian law, Hindu myths and rituals, contemporary folk
religion and magic in Banaras, theories and methods in the study of
religion, phenomenology, neuro-psychology and the evolutionary psychology
of religious experience. He is currently researching the way that religious
emotions are implicated in human self destructiveness.
Publications include A Taste for Heaven: The Biology of Religious
Self-Destructiveness (Harper Collins, 2009), The Strides of Vishnu: A
Historical Introduction to Hinduism (Oxford University Press, 2008),
Climbing Chamundi Hill (Harper, 2003), Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for
the Sake of the Soul (Oxford University Press, 2001), Hachavaia Hamagit
(Aryeh Nir, 2001), The End of Magic (Oxford University Press, 1997), The
Sense of Adharma (Oxford University Press, 1994), Religious Jurisprudence
in the Dharmasastras (Macmillan, 1988).

To this end, we are seeking graduate student papers that look to address
the body in pain and pleasure from a variety of (inter)disciplinary
perspectives. We welcome projects that consider the following topics or
others, as they illuminate our inquiry:

• Biopolitics and governmentality
• History and historiography
• Nation, state, and nation-state
• Religion
• Art, film, and literature
• Theatre and dance
• Popular culture
• Pornography and erotica
• Trauma
• The family
• Psychoanalysis
• Gender and sexuality
• Substance and substance abuse
• Terror and terrorism
• Crises and disasters
• Performance
• Philosophy and ethics
• Environmentalism
• Technology
• Race
• Illness, medicine, and death
• Justice and the law
• Sport and exercise

Please send 250-word abstracts for individual 20-minute papers (or panels
of 3-4 presenters) to compstudiesconference_at_gmail.com. The deadline for
submissions is November 10th, 2008. Accepted applicants will be notified
by November 30th. In the body of the e-mail, please include the following

Presenter(s) name(s):
Institutional affiliation(s):
Level of graduate study:
Title of paper:
Contact information:

**We are striving to make this conference accessible to all participants
and attendees, particularly for persons with disabilities. Please contact
our access coordinator at compstudiesconference_at_gmail.com for more
information or specific requests**

Rachel A. Wortman, M.A.
Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Comparative Studies
The Ohio State University
476 Hagerty Hall
Columbus, OH

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Received on Tue Oct 28 2008 - 08:11:30 EST