[DEADLINE EXTENDED] Bodies of Work: The Human Body in Various Forms

deadline for submissions: 
January 25, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
University of Southern Mississippi English Graduate Organization
contact email: 

[DEADLINE EXTENDED] Bodies of Work: The Human Body in Various Forms

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi

FEATURED SPEAKER: Jeannine Hall Gailey

Deadline for Submissions: January 25, 2017 [DEADLINE EXTENDED]

Name of Organization: The University of Southern Mississippi English Graduate Organization

Contact Emails: mary.a.stephens@usm.edu ; emily.c.martin@usm.edu

Website: http://egousm.wixsite.com/conference


The ancient Roman architect Vitruvius believed that the proportions of the human body could be used to achieve ideal proportions in architecture and design. Rather than looking to an abstract concept, he proposed that the body--in all its imperfections--could guide us towards the most excellent manifestations of human talent. Nearly 1,500 years later, Leonardo da Vinci expounded upon Vitruvius' ideas in his famous drawing "Vitruvian Man" ("L'Uomo Vitruviano"). His drawing portrays the human body as a nexus between mathematics and metaphor, creation and procreation, and heaven and earth. Properly understood, our physical limitations enable us to create lasting achievements and meaningful action, and may ultimately be a sign of greater things beyond our comprehension. In short, the body is the measure of man's capacity and knowledge.

In the spirit of Vitruvius and da Vinci, we also seek to understand the full limitations and capacities of the body in a wide variety of forms and contexts. To that end, we seek to understand the body not only as a natural construct of flesh and bone but also as a social construct and as a metaphor for physical items.

We welcome critical and creative submissions from a wide variety of disciplines and practices. Possible subject matter includes but is not limited to:

  • The body as a prosodic or narrative form
  • Bodies and symbolism in fairy tales, mythology, and beast fables
  • Bodies and symbolism in dance, sculpture, painting, and theatre
  • Bodily limitations and capacities in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology
  • The body as a social construct
  • The body as a metaphor for human society
  • The body as a metaphor for religious practice and institutions
  • Library collections and archival research. The history of the book as a physical and digital object
  • Racial politics in America and/or abroad
  • American and/or global feminism and sexual politics
  • Gender studies and LGBTQIA politics
  • Parenthood, maternity, and child development
  • Transhumanism and posthumanism
  • Social media, online presence, and the digital age
  • Disability studies


The conference will be held on March 3 and 4, 2017, at USM in Hattiesburg, MS. Professional, graduate, and independent researchers are all welcome to submit. Please send panel proposals for 3-4 participants (1200 words max) and/or individual abstracts (300 words) via e-mail attachment (.doc, .docx, or PDFs only) to mary.a.stephens@usm.edu or emily.c.martin@usm.edu by January 25, 2017. If you have any specific audio-visual or technological needs, please specify these at the bottom of your proposal.

Planned events include a faculty roundtable, a reading and Q&A by Jeannine Hall Gailey, a reading and keynote address by Beth Ann Fennelly, and a creative reading by members of the Center for Writers.