Embodiment at the Margins: Theorizing Bodies and/as Subjectivity in Literature and the Arts

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association

Embodiment at the Margins: Theorizing Bodies and/as Subjectivity in Literature and the Arts

to be held July 6-9 2017 at ACLA in Utrecht, Netherlands

Co Chairs: Lisa DeTora, Hofstra University
Stephanie Hilger, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Katelyn Dykstra Dykerman, University of Manitoba

What makes a subject?  What imbues bodies with meaning?  What makes them matter? And how does this matter become (and remain) intelligible in social discourse? How can we discuss abject, unthinkable, unliveable bodies that exist outside available discourses?

Judith Butler raised some of these questions decades ago, yet many essentialist notions of personal subjectivity continue to rely on a firm grounding within corporeal binaries (male/female, straight/gay, healthy/ill, self/other, citizen/alien) that have been increasingly called into question by theorists, scholars, and policy makers.  Foundational wors like Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory and Volatile Bodies raised questions that still propel powerful conversations about the limits and margins of the decipherable body in life, literature, and the arts.

This seminar will explore the means by which the body can be read across the margins of artistic, literary, visual, and medical discourses. We hope to establish a dialogue between disciplines and discourses. We are particularly interested in readings of gender, transition, looking relations, and the medical gaze. We welcome work from all historical and cultural contexts and from scholars in all disciplines. Work that draws on materials from outside the United States is especially welcome as is work on visual media such as medical imaging, film, television, fine art, graphic novels, medical illustrations, pin-ups