Theorizing Wounded Bodies (2020 NWSA)

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Ka-eul Yoo / UC Santa Cruz
contact email: 

Call for papers: 2020 National Women's Studies Association Annual Conference (Nov 12-15, Minneapolis)


This year's theme: The Poetics, Politics, and Praxis of Transnational Feminisms


Panel title: Theorizing Wounded Bodies


Gloria Anzaldúa describes the U.S.-Mexico border as “una herida abierta,” as a wound constantly reopened and which facilitates the lives of “those who...go through the confines of the ‘normal’” (25). Here, wounds are the product of national boundaries and produce “the half dead” and other deviant figures. Anzaldúa’s theorization of woundedness opens up a discussion of the wounding function of nation states, addressed in contemporary theoretical frameworks like Jasbir Puar’s discussion of maiming in Palestine and Eunjung Kim’s notion of curative violence in Korea. In both approaches to wounded bodies, theory, like the body, is located in national contexts. This panel understands wounding as an embodied and psychic experience and invites papers that address woundedness from a variety of perspectives.


This panel aims to theorize wounded bodies--those queer, deviant, feminized, racialized, injured, ill, or mad bodies--from a focus on their “local/situated/historically specific” emergence. Helen Meekosha’s articulation of disability studies as “a form of scholarly colonialism” (2011) illustrates the importance of more critical feminist approaches to wounded bodies. Minimizing the disabling effects of colonial violence and war, theorizations of bodily pain, illness, injury, and disability instead often emerge from studies of white, and Western, and male subjects. 


Pivoting from overgeneralized frameworks for bodily injury, this panel asks what problems emerge in the approaches of feminist science studies, new materialisms, disability studies, or medical humanities as we center nonwhite, nonwestern experiences. How can transnational feminist methods be used todecenterwhiteness in the histories and theories of wounded bodies?This interdisciplinary panel revisits feminist approaches to the wounded body through the lens of “transnationalization.” We are inviting papers that use transnational, intersectional, and/or interdisciplinary feminist methodologies to engage wounded bodies in geographically and historically specific contexts, particularly in the Global South.


Papers might address topics including:

  • The colonial wound; wounding in relation to war, colonialism, and imperialism

  • Wounding in territorial/physical/ideological/legal border crossing

  • Psychic wounding and trauma

  • Chronic Illness, environmental racism

  • Injury and amputation

  • Debilitation or disability

  • Discourses of bodily deficiency


Send titles and abstracts of 100-150 words and a brief bio to both Sarah Orsak ( and Ka-eul Yoo ( by February 15.