deadline for submissions: 
December 20, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Center for Early Cultures at University of California, Irvine
contact email: 

CALL FOR PAPERS: “Historical Corporealities”

2020 Graduate Student Conference

Center for Early Cultures

University of California, Irvine

Conference date: Thursday, January 30th, 2020

Abstract submission deadline: Friday, December 20th, 2019

Keynote speaker: Valerie Traub, Adrienne Rich Distinguished University Professor and Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at The University of Michigan.

What did it mean to have or to be a body in earlier periods? The Center for Early Cultures at UCI is pleased to announce the 2020 Graduate Student Collaborative Conference, “Historical Corporealities.” This conference invites graduate students from across disciplines to engage with questions of historical embodiment; the historically physical nature(s) of race, gender, sexuality, and ability; beliefs, institutions, and sciences of human, animal, and divine corporeality in European and non-European contexts.

Recent scholarship has shown that Pre-Enlightenment conceptions of the body were fluid and heterogenous. How were race, gender, sexuality, and other seemingly stable categories of corporeality understood in radically different historical moments than our own? Ovid’s Metamorphosis and its stories of bodily transmutation through passion, rage, and divine judgment is just one example of the unpredictability of embodiedness in art, literature, and natural philosophy. Over the course of some 1600 years, the body was not a monolithic entity, but rather a shifting constellation of ideas and practices that waxed, waned, and coexisted.

Possible topics may include:

Corporeal materialism, embodiment

Gendered physicality or spirituality

Sexuality, sensuality

Queer theory or queer historicity

Racialized subjecthood, the racialized body

Histories of science, natural philosophy

Monarchical embodiment

The Center for Early Cultures invites paper submissions that address relevant topics prior to 1790. Please send abstracts of 300 words or fewer, accompanied by a 1-2 page CV, to mspeer@uci.edu by December 20th, 2019.

Limited funds available for travel reimbursement for presenters who are selected.