POSTPONED: Symposium “Bio and Psyche: Reading the Symptomatic Body”
IN LIGHT OF COVID-19 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS DEVELOPMENTS, THIS SYMPOSIUM HAS BEEN POSTPONED AND WILL BE RESCHEDULED IN OCTOBER 2020
Call for Papers — Symposium “Bio and Psyche: Reading the Symptomatic Body”
May 1 and 2, 2020
Humanities Research Center, Rice University
Prof. Christopher Lane (Northwestern University), author of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness (2007).
Dr. Jamieson Webster (The New School), psychoanalyst in private practice and author of Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis (2018).
Where does our biology end and our psyche begin? Beyond a philosophical analysis of the mind-body problem, embodied minds and mindful bodies challenge us to find new ways of reading symptoms. Trained in neuropathology, Sigmund Freud found that “local diagnosis and electrical reactions lead nowhere in the study of hysteria” (Studies on Hysteria, with J. Breuer). Instead, he learned to understand hysteria, a psychosomatic condition, through the famous “talking cure.” Almost a century later, Elizabeth Wurtzel’s cry “Give me lithium or give me death!” seeks solace in the material treatment of her recurrent depression. Wurtzel’s memoir, Prozac Nation, nonetheless recognizes the shortfalls of treating symptoms as pure biology, and in the text’s understanding of her symptoms, the body carries the chemical marks of psychological strain.
From psychoanalytical interpretations of the body, to psychopharmaceutical interventions on the psyche, the medical sciences pose numerous (incompatible and frequently contradictory) interpretations of the symptomatic body. As an interdisciplinary effort in the humanities and social sciences, this symposium invites participants to critically examine entanglements between biological understandings of the psyche and psychoanalytic understandings of biology. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- (Case) histories of the symptomatic body
- The body in psychoanalysis
- Narrative treatments of symptomatic bodies
- The medicalization of bio and psyche
- Physiological, sexual, and racial conceptions of the bio and psyche
- Cultural perceptions of bioand psyche and the symptomatic body
- The symptomatic body in art, photography, film, and cultural artifacts
For individual papers, please submit a 300-word abstract, along with title, a short author bio and affiliation, and author email address.
Optionally, up to four papers may be pre-organized into panels. Panel proposals should include a rationale for grouping the papers into a panel, a suggested title for each panel, and a copy of the 300-word abstract of each participant, including their bios and affiliations. Also include the email address of the panel organizer. The panel presentation should be organized for a 120-minute time slot.
Please submit your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 30, 2020.