deadline for submissions: 
April 16, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Bio and Psyche: Reading the Symptomatic Body
contact email: 


A Virtual Symposium and Workshop Series

May 2021

Humanities Research Center

Rice University, Houston TX



After a year on Zoom, our bodies have become clear indicators of the disjointed embodiment of the pandemic condition. The lingering effects of COVID-19 blur the boundaries between our biology and psyche. Beyond a philosophical analysis of the mind-body problem, embodied minds and mindful bodies challenge us to find new ways of reading symptoms. What are our bodies telling us?


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. In a series of four public lectures and four workshops, this symposium invites participants to examine the body and its symptoms in medicine, psychoanalysis, creative writing, art and activism, and beyond. The symposium series consists of four strands:



7 May 2021

The Body in Psychoanalysis

With a lecture by Dr. Jamieson Webster

The New School


14 May 2021

The Medicalized Body

With a lecture by Prof. Christopher Lane

Northwestern University


21 May 2021

The Body in Activism

With a lecture by Venus Ginés

Founder and President, Día de la Mujer Latina


28 May 2021

The Body in Poetry

With a lecture and poetry reading by Dr. Travis Chi Wing Lau

Kenyon College


Each lecture is paired with a workshop session, in which participant are invited to discuss their work-in-progress with peers and keynote lecturers, either through a pre-circulated draft or in a short presentation. We welcome a wide range of work, from the academic article draft to the spoken word poem, from meditations on doctor-patient relationships to community activism.


To participate in one of the four workshop sessions, please sign up through the following Google form by April 16, 2021:

For questions, please contact Els Woudstra (eww4[at] and Brooke Clark (cbc5 [at]