UPDATED Writing Bios: Biopolitics in 20th-century Literature and Beyond (Roundtable)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2020 (Boston)
contact email: 

Since the biopolitical turn, scholars across disciplines have attempted to make sense of the encounter between life (bios) and politics. This attention paid to the topic of biopolitics shows a cultural ethos that revolves around an awareness of power connected to the body. This roundtable invites papers that analyze how literature engages with biopolitics, particularly in the conceptualizations and depictions of the body in relation to power in 20th- and 21st-century literature. Roundtable participants are encouraged to submit abstracts that engage with the following questions: “How is life (and the body) culturally inscribed with meaning and definition,” and further, “What is a consequence of that inscription?”

By contemplating the many contexts and depictions of the body-power relation, this roundtable will not only gain a better understanding of the multiple connotations and manifestations of biopolitics in literature but will also contribute to the overarching theme of NeMLA’s 2020 convention, “Shaping and Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages and Cultures.” 


Possible approaches to investigating biopolitics in literature may include, but are not limited to, the following:

-Bodies in relation to race, gender, sexuality,

-The Production of Art

-Technology / Technological Bodies

-The Environment and the Body,

-Medical Humanities

-Posthumanism and Tranhumanism

-Object Oriented Ontology

-Materialism and New Materialism


The Roundtable format focuses on panelist interaction. Presentations will be 5-10 minutes followed by discussion between chair, panelists, and audience members. 

Please submit abstracts to the NeMLA portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18045

Contact Forrest Johnson (York University) with any inquiries: forj15@yorku.ca