Bodies Matter

Call for Papers: “Bodies Matter” Conference
The Conference Committee of the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) invites proposals for participation in “Bodies Matter,” a two-day conference on histories and theories of the body held in Leiden on 15-16 April 2021. It will feature keynote lectures by Dr Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford and Dr Willemijn Ruberg, Associate Professor in Cultural History, Universiteit Utrecht. Final remarks and a concluding session will be supervised by Dr Frans-Willem Korsten, Senior University Lecturer at LUCAS.
Since global antiquity, conceptions of the body have played a central role in culture and society. From physical figures to political metaphors, objects of analysis to sources of value, bodies take multiple forms. They ground emotions, desires and identities, and are inflected by technology. They connect to histories of place and space, both online and offline, and are framed by political, environmental, spiritual, and other discourses. All too often, conceptions of the body have been to delimit or exclude bodies deemed “other” for reasons of race, gender, class or other markers of identity. Never isolated, bodies are also arranged into larger units, from cultural groups to nation states. Thinking through the body not only reshapes our body of knowledge, it also moves us to rethink our lives otherwise in a time of political, ecological and health crises.
We welcome contributions from researchers across the humanities and social sciences. Participants are invited to consider topics including, but not limited to:
• Normative and deviant bodies (outlaw, disabled, ill)
• Performances and representations of the body in various media
• Collective bodies and biopolitics (medicine, ethics, governance, coercion, control, surveillance, resistance)
• Ecologies of the body (environmental relations, human and non-human bodies)
• Body modification, fragmentation and extension
• Mind and body (philosophies of the body, embodied knowledge, bodies as objects/subjects)
• Bodies in location (urban, suburban, rural and wild spaces)
• Sacred and profane bodies
• Movement and constraint (refugee, migrant and stateless bodies)
• Erotics and hermeneutics of bodies
Each twenty-minute presentation will be followed by a ten-minute Q&A session. We invite individual papers as well as proposals of whole panels.
To submit an individual paper, please provide:
• Applicant name and short bio (maximum 100 words);
• Title and abstract (maximum 200 words);
To submit a three-person panel, please provide:
• Applicant names and short bios (maximum 100 words each);
• Title and abstract of whole panel (maximum 250 words);
• Title and abstract of each paper (maximum 200 words);
Interested participants are invited to submit their proposal as a single PDF file to by 31 August 2020. Accepted participants will be notified by late-September 2020.
The conference is sponsored by the Leiden University Fund.