THINKING THE BODY
Coordinates: Andrea Ostrov (UBA, Argentina)
Body and biopolitics
Body and disease
Body and health
Body and power
Body in social and human sciences
During the 20th century’s last decades, social and human sciences began a process of critical deconstruction concerning the notion of ‘body’. As a consequence, the belonging of the body exclusively to the field of ‘nature’ is cancelled and so starts to show its historical character and cultural condition. In this context, Judith Butler’s hypothesis of thinking the sexed body not as a given element but rather as the result of a materialization process that would occur through language is highly relevant. This process is ruled by certain norms that would establish which bodies are intelligible as human and which are not. Likewise, Giorgio Agamben introduces the concept of ‘anthropological machine’ in allusion to that symbolic mechanism that has determined the limits of ‘humanity’ throughout history. The permanent inclusion/exclusion movement that qualifies bodies as ‘viable’ or ‘abject’ based on political, economic, social and cultural parameters, exhibits corporealities as complex mazed crossed by multiple dimensions of power. At the same time, it enables a critical review of the role that the body acquires within the construction of identities both hegemonic and subaltern, oppressed and stigmatized.
This symposium aims to bring the following questions (among others possible) under consideration: At this time, which are the ways of thinking about bodies? How do new technologies intervene in them? Which are the useful and functional bodies in a globalized and transnational system? Which are the regulating and normalizing instances intervening in bodies and subjectivities production in post-industrial societies? Which are the hegemonic body patterns? What kinds of subjects are excluded or ‘dis-incorporated’? Which bodies access to citizenship and which ones are expelled due to state or market policies? How are biopolitics linked to the interests of the neoliberal economic system? What spatial reorganizations come along with exclusion operations? How are the categories of ethnicity and nation reformulated in relation to the hegemonic body patterns? How much does difference (sexual, racial, national, ethnic, cultural) operate as a strategy for resistance? To what extent does the claim of a “monstrous” identity constitute a subversion type against the uniformity and homogeneity that the globalized paradigm proposes? Which are the normalizing mechanisms that aim to ‘correct’ those bodies that, from their difference, question the hegemonic body?
BODY, AESTHETICS AND PHILOSOPHY
Coordinates: Silvio Mattoni (UNC, Argentina)
Body and religion
Body and voice
Body and absence
«No one knows how to determine what a body can», says the philosopher, since the body expresses its own character and not the effects of something incorporeal. That is, against aesthetics yet to come, the body is not an appearance, the form of an essence, but an appearance itself. Its nakedness, for example, would not be a stripping of something, but a manifestation, the presence that makes visible what in religious terms has been called grace or sin, and in ethical terms, love and shame. Nor would the voice be a mere vehicle of thought, but rather a mode or an attribute of the body, as long as its grain exists in the extension, crosses it, fills it with sonorous corpuscles. The voice is a segregation of the body, which can continue to affect other bodies at a distance, in retreat. Thus, the spider seems absent from the web, although the expression of its body acts in the singular polygon that its expectations wove. «What can a body do by virtue of its own laws?», asked the philosopher. Perhaps, these were already the laws of the sensible, since nothing extensive is imperceptible. Centuries later, the question about the body continues being opened up in multiple ways.
CORPORALITY AND POETRY
Coordinates: Laura Scarano (UNMdP, Argentina)
Body as a transdisciplinary theoretical category and reflexive modulations around it in poetic arts
Privacy as knowledge/feeling of the body in the various poetics of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Body and eroticism
Body and socio-historical testimony
In this central theme we explore the emergence of corporeality in contemporary theoretical and autopoetic reflections as well as its diverse and divergent manifestations in current poets. As David Le Breton rightly points out, “the body is the place and time in which the world becomes man, immersed in the singularity of its personal history” (Sociology of the body). The body appears as the material configuration of the being’s nature, apparently hard to pin down. We know that culture institutes, through individual bodies, many forms of symbolic and pragmatic relationships. Also, since a non bodily human existence is impossible, the body becomes a foundational value to represent the bonds between individuals themselves and with nature.
Corporality and the fold over privacy embody two horizons of identity hinged in the character, both social and historical, lived by the subjects. At the same time, they are made from the outlines that communities provide to them as conventions, institutions and traditions that emerge in poetry through semantic figures. Well established in current lyric, this «knowledge of the bodies», traces an imaginary topology where the loving, dreaming and suffering subjects print their assessments about the world in terms of passions and affections, or «structures of feeling» (in Raymond Williams’ words), to differentiate them from concepts such as ideology or world view. In the same operation, subjects give names to meanings and values in the way they are lived and materially felt, mediated by the poem.
(RE)WRITING THE BODY
Coordinates: Indrani Mukherjee (JNU, India) Brigitte Le Juez (UCD, Ireland)
Corporality and gender
(Un)dressing the body
Body and fashion(s)
Feminist practices and discourses
Gender and Literature
The human body has been treated over time as a socio-economic and politic-philosophical code of gender, race and caste, fixed in grids of power and discipline. This understanding of the body is, to a certain extent, docile, amenable to objectification and exploitation, disciplining and punishment. Practices such as dressing and undressing bodies through control and design conducted by various forms of patriarchal power, are representative of societal and moral agendas. In this sense, fashion is unique as a performativity that standardized gender identity through the repetition of identity traits for ‘the feminine’ or ‘the masculine’. Fashion proposed paradigms of capitalistic profitable bodies for consumerism under the euphemism of desire bodies.
Social policies of a different order, however, have more recently decoded and put docile minds and bodies into radically viable thinking: for instance, the Senegalese Awa Thiam’s literary work about sexual mutilation abolition; the Argentinian Maria Lugones who highlighted colonized/racialized bodies as de-gendered; the Indian Sharmila Rege’s critic about ‘difference’ and promotion of a dalit ‘untouchable’ feminist point of view; and the Iranian Hamid Dabashi’s focus on political protest, suicidal violence and the creation of the posthuman body. Literature restrains the stereotypes propagated by performative language, aiming resilience and resistance as we can see in Audre Lorde’s poetry, Babytai Kamble’s autobiography, Marie Darrieussecq’s novels and Samanta Schweblin’s short stories. Getting undressed exposes the hidden and taboo aspects of the gendered/sexual body – such as its genitalia, skin colour, race, caste as well as diverse forms of crippling practices – and constitutes a dissension act against coloniality.
In the same context, in the last decades, all performing and visual arts have been actively involved in expressing the need to correct the whole problem. Thus, fashion negotiates with pre and post-(un)dressing a liminality between clothing and nudity, creating a sense of attraction, eroticism and play. In other kinds of nakedness, the body may evoke the non-human, such as animals and cyborgs, in a relational approach with ‘lesser’ beings, challenging any fixed notions of beauty, sexuality and normativity. Opposite to writing out the docile body through fashion, now the goal is that of allowing the bodies to be self-procreative and this involves rewriting them. So, the naked body cancels every previous association with pleasure or utility. It also redefines the myths of beauty and style via rhizomic links with sweatshops, child labour, the dehumanised industry of packaging and delivery systems, ecofeminism and post-humanism. In this way, the new material that deconstructs fetishization, social order, gendered accessories and individualized ‘haute couture’ would help to remove conventional standards, producing an undressed body. Undressing becomes casual, desexualized, unglamorous but more radical in its connections with nature and communities. Can the body, detoxed from any dominant, consumerist and ‘(un)dressing’ agenda be aestheticized as a ‘becoming’ policy? Body’s generative ability paradoxically lies in its public spatiality and in its nomadism, in its struggles through the desert-like lands of unbelonging and exile.
BODY IN CONTEMPORARY VISUAL AND PLASTIC ARTS
Coordinates: Fabrice Flahutez (U. Jean Monnet, France)
Body and contemporary creation
Surrealism and avant-garde 1920-1970
Approximate body – fragmented body – abhumanist body
Recombined body- prosthetic body- inanimate body
Body and even more face, have always been predominant motifs in human creation. From the prehistoric Venus to the transhumanist practices, the body is omnipresent. All bodies, whose appearances or plays are determined by societal, historical, political and anthropological issues, are also mirrors of ourselves. Beyond time and eras, bodies question what we are. Furthermore, they forge the idea of us being part of a kind of ahistorical finitude and much as symptoms of the societies we pass through. The twentieth century together with surrealism and, in particular, the avant-gardes of the interwar period, worked on the body in an unusual way, considering the fact that it often appears fragmented, altered, threatened, deformed or even multiplied, diverted, eroticized, etcetera. The forms that the body takes show many contact points with such a convulsing period. Simultaneously, it is subjected to many ideological clashes. Body is a battlefield that has not found peace until today. After 1945, bodies became once again the seat for general claims, paving the way for innovative methodologies capable of writing a new visual history. All bodies are, therefore, symptoms of something that overflows, exceeds them. It is in this perspective that communications are expected.
CORPORALITY AND LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE
Coordinated by: Lucía Caminada (UNNE, Argentina) and Gabriele Bizzarri (UNPD, Italy)
Ghosts and weird corporality
The ‘in drag’ body: turning the paradigm ‘gay’
Disabilities and other ‘aberrations’: ‘crip’ bodies
Politics of sexuality
This central theme aims to study the diverse corporeality that, with their excesses, eccentricities, overflows and setbacks, anarchically stroll through contemporary Latin American narrative, breaking, in every possible way, the mold of form. They call into question the possibility of an order and postulate a profound revision of the epistemological coordinates, the cultural categories and the (bio)political arrangements to the use. They strip, in fact, the convention they are based on. In this scope, we will think particularly over the socio normative framework fissures caused by the disturbing ‘emergence’ of impossible bodies (invisible, unrepresentable) within different logics of power, in which the discourses of gender, health and, lately, ‘reality’, literally and metaphorically produce monsters.
BODY AND COMMUNICATION
Coordinated by: Ícaro Vidal Ferraz Junior (PUC-SP, Brazil) and Maurício de Bragança (UFF, Brazil)
Body in the media / internet / television
Erotic rewriting about the body
Collective body (audience and mass media)
Body and cinema
The axis named Body and Communication welcomes research works related to the multiple articulations between the contemporary statute of the body and the various media ecosystems. The main purpose is to explore issues related to body policies of representation, visibility and representativeness along with the intersectional perspectives about embodiment within media discourses. It includes studies on the relationships between body and media activism with an emphasis on the processes of subjectivation, identity affirmation and narrative disputes. The axis conceives communication dynamics as environments and thereby calls for non-hegemonic epistemologies that inscribe the body at the heart of media criticism and creation of meanings.
BODY AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Coordinates: Fernando Gonçalves (UERJ, Brazil)
Body and advertising
Practices and speech
Body and symbolic / erotic capital «Capturing» corporeality
This axis deals with body and photography as surfaces where culture and identity discourses and practices take place, flow and are (de)legitimized. Far from being neutral, photography is a mediation device that provides the body with meaning. It also challenges our imaginaries and modulating subjectivities, ways of life and forms of self-perception. We expect communications about the captures of corporeality, body photographic narratives and staging within the field of advertising. We would also welcome reflections about tensions between regulation and fabulation that may promote a decolonization of the photographic perception associated with the body.
BODY AND OBSCENITY
Coordinates: Paula Sibilia (UFF, Brazil)
Body images and visibility regimes
Genealogy of the obscene in nudity images
Politicization of the body and reconfigurations of morality
The strong transformations occurring in the last decades are contributing to produce subjectivities differentiated from modern aspects. In the same movement, they are affecting what is considered obscene, particularly in relation to images of nudity and discourses (verbal or visual) about sexual practices. It is a complex historical process, which is still ongoing and involves some reformulations contrasting with the hegemonic assumptions of the 19th and 20th centuries. While such images do not stop to proliferate in the artistic and media present spheres, moral and political disputes about what can (or even deserve) and what should not be exhibited also grow, showing significant alterations concerning the prevailing values of the modern era.
On the one hand, certain ideas about nudity and sexuality, that were not considered problematic or offensive a short while ago, are being challenged, causing unprecedented forms of response, warning or proscription, often prompted by complaints associated with claims of ‘identity movements’ on the internet social networks. On the other hand, along with these developments, there is an unforeseen update of more traditional forms of censorship (Christian or bourgeois) that were considered in decline or obsolete, and that also tend to motivate vigorous reactions and media repercussions. Into this setting full of intense disputes and quick mutations, the notion of obscenity pinned to the human body has not vanished, although it undergoes some redefinitions that reflect certain metamorphoses in the values that make up the complex contemporary morality.
BODY AND PERFORMANCE
Coordinated by: Gustavo Blázquez (UNC, Argentina) and Cecilia Castro (UNC, Argentina)
Body and performance
Body and theater
Body and dance
Party and night
This axis aims to debate about the ways in which bodies are made and undone, politicized and narrated, into and through performances. Works that discuss the ways in which artistic knowledge and techniques, forms of social control and pleasure devices are incorporated repetitively and with great aesthetic care will be welcomed. The proposals may focus on artistic or other types of social practices, especially of a recreational nature such as celebrations, parties, sporting events, sexual acts and recreational consumption. We are particularly interested in analyzing the relationship between performance and performativity; between actions rehearsed over and over, polished and “civilized” (in Norbert Elias’s terms), and their potential for generating and gestating bodies; between careful gestures, made with attention, dedication, enjoyment and pain, and the bodies that experience them. The axis addresses the performative magic of bodies production and reproduction. It focuses on incantations, secrets, recipes, spells, blessings and curses, tricks and rituals that (de)materialize bodies.
Coordinates: Zairong Xiang (Duke U, China)
Transgender and camp
Translation and (de)coloniality
Queer bodies are penetrable, porous and polysemic. Despite the astute criticism of queer libearlism, homonationalism and other unfortunate complicity established between ‘the queer’ and the repressive neoliberal regimes, queer corporality is supposed to be an individual experience. Queer bodies have been interpreted, represented and celebrated as a characteristic of the individual. However, is it true that ‘the queer’ is opposite to the collective, the common or even the majority? Is there a way to think queer bodies as a plurality that is not an addition of isolated differences but the ‘nature’ of queer corporality? We look for theoretical discussion on ‘queer bodies’ to help us imagine together a ‘queer body’ that is not restricted to the individual or to the notion of individuated/lizable difference. How would a plural queer corporality look like if we think it in/as an ondulating multitude, a contagious mass, a complexity whose starting point is the very body-in-plural?