Bodies, Embodiments, Becomings

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34th Annual Meeting: Southeastern Medieval Association

Bodies, Embodiments, Becomings

2-4 October 2008

Saint Louis University (Saint Louis, Missouri)

Call for Papers

In his book Medieval Identity Machines, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen writes that we know the human body "is divisible into semidiscrete systems (nervous, digestive, circulatory, excretory, reproductive), but that these structures nevertheless form a bounded whole, a singular organism. The human body is therefore described as a marvel of God or of evolution, a system so autonomous from its environment that it can dream theology and science in order to envision how it came to be the culminating creation in a world of similarly distinct bodies and objects." But what if the body is less than this idealization and also "more than its limbs, organs, and flesh as traced by an anatomical chart"? What if it is "open and permeable," and what if "corporeality and subjectivity - themselves inseparable - potentially included both the social structures (kinship, nation, religion, race) and the phenomenal world (objects, gadgets, prostheses, animate and inanimate bodies of many kinds) across which human identity is spread?" Cohen urges us to see bodies as "sites of possibility" that are "necessarily dispersed into something larger, something mutable and dynamic, a structure of alliance and becoming," and which are always on the verge of escaping "the confines of somber individuality" in order to connect with other bodies and other worlds. Therefore, there is no "being" per se, only «becoming.»

For the 34th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Medieval Association, we invite paper and session proposals on any topic relative to the Middle Ages, but we especially encourage those proposals that address any and all aspects of the body, embodiment, and becoming in medieval arts and letters. Consider our definition of body to be wide open, to include human and nonhuman bodies, bodies of language and manuscripts and texts, bodies of history, bodies of knowledge, and bodies (of all types) as sites of transformation and possibility, of departures and arrivals, of enclosure and openness. Consider, also, if you will, the gendered body, the racialized body, the phenomenological body, the sexualized body, the colonial body, the medicalized body, the pathologized body, the animal body, the erotic body, the loving body, the spiritual body, the abnormal body, the medieval body, the communal body, the hybrid body, the post/human body, and so on. Consider the relationships between body and self-identity, between body and art, between body and mind, body and culture, body and technology, body and world, and so on. Consider, finally, the ways in which bodies and embodiment emerge out of historical times and spaces, and out of historical processes of becoming (coming-to-be through time and space).

Deadline for Submission: Friday, 30 May 2008

Send Paper or Session Abstracts to: Eileen Joy. Department of English Southern Illinois University. Edwardsville Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.
*Submissions must be made via email.

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