The Human Body and World War II: Interdisciplinary conference, University of Oxford, 23-24 March 2018

deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
University of Oxford
contact email: 

The Human Body and World War II

Interdisciplinary conference

University of Oxford, 23-24 March 2018


War, Elaine Scarry, claims, is ‘the most radically embodying event in which human beings ever collectively participate.’ This two-day interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the kinds of bodies that were enlisted, co-opted and represented during the Second World War, on both the battlefield and the various ‘home fronts.’ How did the damage done to the wartime body affect the medical establishment and its practice? In what ways were amputation and prostheses taken up by the culture industry? How did language shape, accommodate, or erase the body during this period? What new relationships were formed between human bodies and machines? We welcome papers that seek to challenge disciplinary and geographic boundaries, and we are particularly receptive to proposals situated within a disability studies framework.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

· Medical and psychiatric responses to the wartime body

· The body, language and translation

· Bodies in art, performance, or literature

· Technology, architecture, and damaged bodies

· Social attitudes to bodies during and following the war

· Bodily power, control and punishment

· Bodies and machines

· Wartime propaganda and the body ·

Nationhood and the body: the Aryan ideal; the kamikaze pilot

· Wartime sexuality


Keynote speakers:
Professor Laura Salisbury - Associate Professor in Medicine & English Literature, University of Exeter
Dr. Roderick Bailey - Departmental Lecturer in History and Medicine, University of Oxford, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine

Please send anonymised abstracts of no more than 300 words to by 1st October 2017.

A limited number of travel bursaries will be offered to graduate speakers.

For further information please visit: https://humanbody2018.wordpress. com/

The conference will include exhibits kindly loaned by the British Film Institute, the National Army Museum and the Museum of the History of Science