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.

Tracing Disgust: Cultural Approaches to the Visceral

CfP for Book Proposal // Article Proposals for an edited collection

Tracing Disgust: Cultural Approaches to the Visceral (edited by Max Ryynänen, Susanne Ylönen & Heidi Kosonen)

We often recoil at the thought of mold gathering at the dishes used for eating, of bad breath on a person we do not specifically like, or of a spider walking across our body. Disgust, exemplified in these classic illustrations, is probably the most visceral of the basic human emotions. Some argue that it engages in particular the so called lower senses — taste, smell and touch —with a function for an organism’s preservation. It is also one of the recognized ”moral emotions,” functioning symbolically on social and cultural scales and serving, for example, as an instrument of political discourses. This can be traced in different examples, such as the discrimination of sexual minorities or the populist rhetorics of racist and fascist movements.

In a more deconstructive vein, disgust has also facilitated the criticism and resistance of prevailing norms and hierarchical constitutions often reiterated in its moral uses. In countercultural movements, such as artistic avant-garde or punk, or in children’s culture, disgust, disgustingness and varied kinds of disgust-objects from slime toys to disgust-evoking sweets serve also as sources of pleasure. In art and popular culture disgust has proven to be a welcome enhancement to spectacle-seeking entertainment. Disgust, manifested not only in our instinctive recoiling from danger and decay, but also in these varied kinds of symbolic discourses and cultural products aiming to provoke, agitate or bring about enjoyment, is thus more than the biological mechanism seeking to protect animals from particular kinds of dangers, or a negative emotion negatively felt.

We now invite researchers from a variety of fields ranging from arts and cultural studies and philosophy to sociology and anthropology to reflect on the different varieties and functions of disgust. We especially welcome unexpected approaches that consider the topic from perspectives that are novel both methodologically and content-wise. The themes may consider but are not restricted to:

  • disgust’s relationship to other emotions and affects
  • disgust’s moral, social and/or biological aspects and uses
  • disgust, decay and biological, cognitive, socio-cultural or symbolic dangers
  • disgust and it’s uses as low or high culture
  • disgust and disgust-objects as humour or art
  • disgust and disgust-objects as pleasure and entertainment, for instance in popular cultural phenomena, transgressive art, extreme cuisine or children’s culture
  • disgust’s and disgust-objects’s relationship to cultural change, for instance in political discourses, hate speech and their rhetorics
  • countercultural disgust and its potential for change
  • disgust, ethnic minorities and refugee crisis
  • disgust, gender, sexuality and LGBTQI
  • disgust and death
  • disgust and climate change
  • disgust, foodways, food identities and food economies
  • disgust, social class and social hierarchies
  • disgust and identity

The proposals for an article (300 words) and additional information (such as contact details, affiliation and a short biography), should be sent to editors via email ( and by August 15th, 2020. Notification of acceptance will be sent by September 15, 2020. Full texts (max 9000 words) are expected by December 15, 2020.

We seek to widen our networks to find as interesting article propositions for our book as possible. Thus, although we already have some great authors with interesting papers on board, we have decided to also open this CfP for article propositions beyond our current range of authors. We are currently negotiating with several high profile publishers, and aim to put forward a more detailed book proposal, based on the abstracts we receive, in September 2020.

If you have any inquiries, you may contact us through email:

Cultural Perceptions of Safety

On Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd of January 2021 the Humanities Department of the Open University of the Netherlands organizes the international conference ‘Cultural perceptions of safety’. The conference will be held in Utrecht, at the Academiegebouw, and is supported by the Huizinga Institute (Research Institute and Graduate School of Cultural History).

Questions of safety are at the foreground of many societal and spatial issues. Nowadays as well as in the past, the longing for safety is an important driving force for people and political and religious regimes. The pursuit of safety is often used to legitimize political action and social interventions. Therefore, it is important to reflect on how we define, experience and represent safety. In our modern day and age, according to statistics on crime, hunger, illness or death most parts of the world appear to be safer than ever before. However, the information age we live in brings us daily news of ecological catastrophes, drug crimes, epidemics, terrorism and trade wars, which influences our sense of safety significantly. Feelings of safety are thus connected to much more than measurable numbers alone. Changing experiences of safety over time are influenced by social, political, environmental and personal factors and need to be seen in a broader context to fully grasp its impact.

During this conference cultural perception of safety will be put at the foreground to focus on questions such as: When do feelings of safety and unsafety emerge? How is safety and unsafety portrayed and imagined in literary works, artworks, architecture and media? Do modern representations of safety and unsafety differ from those in earlier times? And how have safety practices been generated, implemented or used by people in policymaking and constructions of society?

The conference ‘Cultural perceptions of safety’ brings together scholars from various humanities disciplines in order to stimulate an interdisciplinary reflection on and contribute to our cultural understanding of the experience of safety and its larger societal impact.

Keynote speakers:

Prof. dr. Nils Büttner

Nils Büttner is a professor ordinarius of Art History at the State Academy of Arts Stuttgart and member of the Centrum Rubenianum vzw. He specialises in the visual culture of Germany and the Netherlands from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. He has published monographs on Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer, as well as a History of landscape painting and books on the history of drawings and prints. He has also written numerous catalogue essays and has served as a curator for several museum exhibitions.


Prof. dr. Eddo Evink

Eddo Evink is Professor in Philosophy at the Open University in the Netherlands and Assistant Professor in History of Modern Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His main areas of research contain phenomenology, hermeneutics, metaphysics, philosophy of the humanities and philosophy of art. He recently published Transcendence and Inscription. Jacques Derrida on Metaphysics, Ethics and Religion, Nordhausen: Traugott Bautz, 2019.


Prof. dr. Beatrice de Graaf (provisionally confirmed)

Beatrice de Graaf is professor of History of International Relations and Global Governance at the University of Utrecht. Her research focuses on how states and societies try to maintain high levels of security and how these attempts relate to core values and institutions (democracy, freedom, rule of law, constitutional and responsible government). She studies the emergence of and threats to such security arrangements from the 19th century until the present, including in times where both the effectiveness and the legitimacy of these arrangements were at risk. She currently leads the “Securing Europe” (SECURE) project, funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant.


Dr. Debra Benita Shaw

Debra Benita Shaw is a Reader in Cultural Theory at the University of East London where she teaches Architecture and Photography. She is a critical posthumanist concerned with issues of gender, social structures and the politics of space and has published widely in the fields of cultural and urban theory, science and technology studies and science fiction criticism. She is the author of Posthuman Urbanism: Mapping Bodies in Contemporary City Space (2018) and is the co-editor of Radical Space: Exploring Politics and Practice (2016). She is a founding member of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at UEL and principal editor of the Radical Cultural Studies book series for Rowman & Littlefield International.

Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory

Announcing New Critical Times Blog | In the Midst



On behalf of the Editorial Team of Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory, I am writing to direct your attention to the new blog that we have just launched on the journal’s website. We have called the blog In the Midst in an effort to convey the difficulties of writing during critical times, and to register the importance of writing from within concrete, unfolding situations, of staying with the troubles of the moment, of thinking from particular grounds, and of allowing for responsive, experimental, and tentative interventions. Published online alongside the journal’s issues, the blog will allow us to respond to world events in a more immediate way than is possible through the journal’s longer editorial and production processes. We launch In the Midst during the time of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are distressing times of devastation and loss. But these are also times of reflection on the state of the unequal world that this pandemic has brought to sharper relief, intervened in, and interrupted. Like the journal, In the Midst will feature reflections and interventions from different parts of the world in an effort to develop critical vocabularies for understanding our present and possible futures.

Three texts are now featured on In the MidstThe first, “Covidian Catastrophes,” by Canadian poet M. NourbeSe Philip, is a meditation on surviving catastrophes, thinking through and with the catastrophe of slavery to apprehend the challenge of COVID-19. The second text, by Osama Tanous, a Palestinian pediatrician, reflects on Israeli settler-colonial politics of erasure in the time of the coronavirus. And the third text is by Robin Celikates, a member of Critical Times’ Editorial Team, and discusses borders in times of pandemic and the tasks of critical theory.

We hope that you will visit our blog and will help us to direct readers to it. To stay apprised of new posts to the blog, please visit and “like” the Facebook pages of Critical Times and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.

In Solidarity,
Samera Esmeir
Senior Editor, Critical Times

Call for Papers: On Maps, Kunstlicht Vol. 41 (2020), No. 2-3.

Call for Papers: On Maps, Kunstlicht Vol. 41 (2020), No. 2-3.

Managing Editor: Anna Sejbæk Torp-Pedersen

Deadline for proposals: 27th April 2020

God as Architect/Builder/Geometer/Craftsman, The Frontispiece of Bible Moralisee, ca 1220-1230, illumination on parchment, 34.4×26 cm, Austrian National Library, (Photo: Wikipedia Commons).

Cartography is a Western science which emerged in the seventeenth-century.  Cartography’s origins in the Western world is still crucially evident in the standardised projection of the world map with north at its top and Europe at its centre. Furthermore, modern cartography became a discipline simultaneously with the formation of the ‘nation-state,’ a geographical emblem of Modernism. As cartography became a tool of nationalism, it too became an instrument for domination and control, tethered to the imperial project. Thus, cartography is not merely an image, but essential for the development of ideologies such as nationalism and western hegemony.

Map-making was practiced centuries before the origins of cartography, which standardised map making as a graphic representation of the world from a bird’s-eye perspective (or a god-like perspective). The western definition of maps is limiting to all the ways they have been interpreted and produced prior to cartography’s invention as a discipline and non-Western modes of mapping. Maps can be spoken and performed, they can be walked and depict our inner emotional lives. However, in recent literature ‘mapping’ largely remains a metaphor despite the increasing number of artists utilising them (in all of their forms).

One does not have to look far to find examples of recent artistic mapping practices. Consider Ariane Littman’s Wounded Map (2011) in which the artist cuts fragments of official maps of the Green Line between Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages, covers them with sterile bandages and plaster, before sewing them back together again. Or think of the multiple practices of counter-mapping where Indigenous Peoples reclaim the land they inhabited long before Western imperialism spread its tentacles. Many artists have also questioned borders with the use of maps. The artist Pedro Lasch handed out maps to people who were to cross the US-Mexico border in 2003. The maps were red borderless projections of the North and South American continents with the words ‘Latino/a America’ imprinted on it. Upon return to their final destination, the migrants returned the maps to Lasch. The few maps he received bears marks of the journeys, narrating a story of migration through the folds and dirt on the paper.

This call for papers encourages writing on maps, whether that be critiques of celebrated historical maps, artists’ interpretations of new cartographies, essays which expound the art historical writing on maps, or critical insights to why we are repeatedly presented with geographical investigations of our world. We want to welcome writing on cartography which does not turn the blind eye to the map itself, its history, and its continued utilisation as an instrument of power.

Yet, other research is also welcomed, to consider, for example, why an increasing number of artists utilise maps in a time of heightened focus on migration (both in academia and gallery spaces)?; How can we understand mapping beyond ideas of nation-states?; How do we gain tools to talk about mapping practices within art history, tools in which we deal with cartography rather than utilise it as a metaphor?; And how, when incorporating mapping into art history do we also expand its framework into other mediums?; Can films be treated as a cartographic environment of journeys and landscapes?; And how, if possible at all, do we overcome cartography’s bird’s-eye perspective upon the world, and instead describe it as something intimate, vulnerable, bodily, or even, as ‘soft’?

Proposals (200-300 words) with attached résumés can be submitted until April 27th 2020 via Selected authors will be invited to write a 2,000–3,000-word paper (excluding footnotes).

Authors who publish in Kunstlicht will receive three complimentary copies. Unfortunately, Kunstlicht is not able to provide an author’s honorarium. Two articles will be selected to be available online. Two years following publication, papers will be submitted to the freely accessible online archive. The editorial board reserves the right to decline contributions.

Anna Sejbæk Torp-Pedersen obtained a MA in Contemporary Art History program from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and completed her BA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She has previously focused on Scandinavian identity and the region’s historical amnesia. Her current research touch upon issues of cartographic representations and migration.

Kunstlicht is an academic journal for visual art, visual culture, and architecture, founded in 1980. It is affiliated with the Arts & Culture department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, but operates from an independent foundation. Kunstlicht is published three times a year, and features both scholarly and artistic contributions.