Endangered Bodies International Conference

Representing and Policing the Body in Western Culture
International Conference
08-09 Oct 2018
School of Arts and Humanities · FLUL, Lisbon

About

The notion of ‘endangered bodies’, or bodies in danger, arises from our concern with current Western political and socio-economic tendencies and practices against the discriminated or disenfranchised Other, whose body is physically, materially and symbolically subjected to internal pressures towards normalization and homogenization. The vulnerability or differential power of the Other’s body becomes, in this sense, subject to social control and / or commodification.

Keynote Speakers

  • Alexandra Kokoli
    Alexandra Kokoli
    Website
    Dr. Alexandra Kokoli is Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture at Middlesex University London and Research Associate at VIAD, University of Johannesburg. An art historian and theorist originally trained in comparative literature, Kokoli researches the aesthetic mobilisation of discomfort to political ends, focusing on art practices informed by and committed to feminism, the fraught but fertile relationship between feminism and psychoanalysis, mourning and shame. She curated‘Burnt Breakfast’ and other works by Su Richardson (Goldsmiths, 2012) and, with Basia Sliwinska, Home Strike (l'étrangère, 2018), and has published widely on feminism, art and visual culture in multiple journals. Kokoli is currently researching the legacies of the women's peace camp at Greenham Common and, more broadly, the aesthetics and politics of feminist anti-nuclear activism.
  • Francesco Vacchiano
    Francesco Vacchiano
    Website
    Francesco Vacchiano obtained is PhD in Anthropology at the University of Turin in 2008. He is currently research associate at the ICS-UL (Instituto de Ciências Sociais - Universidade de Lisboa) and member of the IMEDES (Instituto Universitario de Investigación sobre Migraciones, Etnicidad y Desarrollo Social) of the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid. His multidisciplinary approach encompasses the fields of anthropology and ethnopsychology and his research interests focus on migration, medical and psychological anthropology, European borders and boundaries (particularly in the Mediterranean area), institutions and politics of citizenship and social transformations related to globalization. His areas of ethnographic interest are Southern Europe, the Mediterranean and Noth Africa.
  • António Guerreiro
    António Guerreiro
    Articles
    António Guerreiro, who graduated in Modern Languages and Literatures, is a writer and an important reference in Portuguese cultural and intellectual contexts, currently working as a literary critic in the newspaper Público. He has widely published on contemporary culture, art and literature (especially poetry) in specialized magazines and collective volumes. He is the author of the essay book O Acento Agudo do Presente [P.E.N. 2000, Cotovia]; he is co-author of Enciclopédia e Hipertexto among other texts. He has taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, the Serralves Museum, and the Dance Forum. He has researched and written on authors such as Walter Benjamin and Aby Warburg, among many others. His key-note will be presented in Portuguese.

Registration

Registration fees

for conference speakers only
Standard fee €50
Early bird (by 31st August) €40
Students (ID required) €40
Students early bird (by 31st August) €30
Attendants without presentation who wish to have a certificate of attendance €15

The registration fee includes: coffee breaks, certificate of attendance and conference materials.

IBAN PT50 0035 0824 00011450130 14
BIC SWIFT CGDIPTPL

Please include your name and the conference name in the description of the transfer.

Please send us the transfer confirmation document to endangerebodies@letras.ulisboa.pt, otherwise we might not be able to match your name to your payment.

If you are a student, please send us your Student ID or an official document supporting this.

Programme

Programme to be disclosed at a later date.

Logistics

Accommodation Suggestions

Please note that the Conference has no affiliation/special arrangement with these hotels. These are merely suggestions of nearby hotels.

How to get to FLUL

  • Subway (Metro): Cidade Universitária (Yellow Line)
  • Bus (Carris): Cidade Universitária (731 - 735 - 738 - 755 - 768)
  • Trains (CP): Entre Campos

Additional general information on transportation available here.

Map

Call for Papers

The notion of 'endangered bodies', or bodies in danger, arises from our concern with current western political and socio-economic tendencies and practices against the discriminated or disenfranchised Other, whose body is physically, materially and symbolically subjected to internal pressures towards normalization and homogenization. The vulnerability or differential power of the Other's body becomes, in this sense, subject to social control and / or commodification. The different pressures and actions taken against these bodies are filtered and manipulated through popular culture, in ways that do not always provide accurate representations of the social / political / material issues they raise, many times exacerbating them in insidious forms of policing.

In this conference, we invite you to consider, explore, and critique policing approaches to the body as a gendered, sexual, racial, class-specific and / or political site. Efforts by branches of intersectional feminisms are important examples of current attempts to provide a respite for marginalized populations to reclaim a voice against the intrinsically patriarchal, colonial, capitalist and neo-liberal control of the physical and social body (denied whether due to gender identity, biological sex, ethnic background, migrant status, poverty and / or class issues, etc.). The endangered body of these subjects, groups and communities, is routinely repressed and subject to erasure, simultaneously presented as a threat to the system and threatened by it.

We aim to promote an interdisciplinary debate over different types of representations of bodies in popular culture, in a national / transnational and comparative perspective. In a western context, multiple events (varied in terms of social and ideological meanings and dynamics) have been accompanied by nationalist rhetoric and discourses of fear, which have again gained visibility and momentum. These events are often complex and entail multiple responses and critical counteractions; their repetition in the media's echo chamber reflects varying degrees of bias which are, in turn, amplified by popular reactions. The election / administration of Donald Trump in the USA and the ensuing backlash in the form of public protests (e.g. the Women’s March); the political assassination of human rights activist Marielle Franco (known for her vocal criticism of the violent actions of the military police in Brazil) and the subsequent worldwide demonstrations of solidarity towards her cause; the global reach of the #MeToo Movement that provided visibility to the pervasive ubiquity of harassment and sexual assault; the movements demanding visibility for the expression of sexualities of functional diverse people (e.g. the Yes We Fuck! documentary); or the recent persecution of the LGBTQI+ community in Chechnya, may be considered recent examples of these ricochet effects that continue to affect the ways in which bodies are regulated and controlled.

Among the many consequences of the aforementioned events, the call to a return to the safety of the home-land – paradoxically concomitant to the ever increasing awareness of globalization –, has been particularly felt, and, as a result, the regulation of the (physical) body, understood as a site of inscription of political, juridical, economic and cultural identities, has become one of the main concerns / topics in political agendas worldwide. Old forms of control rooted in patriarchy, western-centrism, colonial, neo-colonial or imperial ideologies are still operative–such as the use of physiology and geography as markers whereupon constructs of People and Nation are built that, in turn, validate political/economical exploitation of non-european countries. However, these forms of control seem to be incompatible with a globalization process which does not seem to have an outside limit that allows the dichotomy "us/them" to effectively remain functional. Nevertheless, the increased awareness of these thresholds and strains also enabled the political and economic powers to seek new forms of control, especially new technological and communicational means – the very same ones that allowed the process to take off in the first place.

Alongside old strategies and structures of disciplinarization of the body, there are now new tools to shape the body, to threaten it in order to control it by providing "protection": among such tools, we can find the rhetoric of "health", the spectacle of violence, the aestheticization and commodification of bodies (including so-called exotic bodies) which go hand in hand with new discourses of fear and desire that, through the a-centered and deterritorialized space-time created by the new media, have a boundless reach that trespasses national, racial, gendered, age and class boundaries, creating new dynamics and power relationships. The regulatory practices and policies that have arisen in the last years must therefore be set against this backdrop of an intensifying global crisis and widespread insecurity.

Western media and popular culture play a crucial part in disseminating representations of a large specter of identities, aided by an escalating consumption and development of technology (smartphones, tablets, etc.). Movies, television series, video games, music videos, among others, have a considerable impact in the social construction of mindsets regarding social markers like gender, class, sexuality, and ethnicity (especially among teenagers). Whether explicit or implied, both positive as well as negative/misguided representations continue to affect the progress towards the acceptance and integration of diverse identities into social, political, and economic spheres, urging us to re-conceptualize the endangered body.

We welcome proposals that problematize and reflect on visual and/or verbal representations of the estranged body in western culture. The proposals should be framed by (but not limited to), the following subjects:

  • Representing female, male, and non-binary bodies in pop culture
  • Policing sexuality and the body
  • Western politics, class, ethnicity and the body
  • Framing the body within neo-liberal / neo-nationalist narratives
  • Representing gender in video games / music videos
  • Gendered representations and misrepresentations in media / advertising / marketing
  • Women and military / women and wars
  • Body Terrorism
  • LGBTQI+ activism and artistic expressions within popular culture
  • The body on the screen / screening bodies
  • Gender representations in literature / literary genres
  • The photographic body and the body photographed
  • The body as cyborg in contemporary Sci-fi narratives
  • Cybernetic social justice movements
  • Gender in the private and public sphere
  • Increased visibility: the representation of non-binary gender fluidity
  • Women’s social / political movements in popular culture (hashtags, women’s marches, etc.)
  • Pharmacopornographic capitalism and the reproductive / social control through the regulation of bodies
  • The challenges of representing men: debunking hypermasculinities
  • Debating new waves of feminisms

The conference will take place at the School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon (Portugal), on the 8th and 9th of October, 2018, Anf. III.

We accept proposals for a 20 minute presentation. The main working language will be English, however, proposals in Portuguese will also be accepted. There will be no simultaneous translation.

Proposals should include the communication’s title, proponent’s name, institutional affiliation, contact details, abstract (up to 300 words) and a brief bio (up to 150 words).

Please submit your proposal until 31st July 2018.

Send your proposals to endangeredbodies@letras.ulisboa.pt

Notification of accepted or refused proposals will be sent by 15th August 2018.

Call for Artists

The upcoming conference Endangered Bodies: Representing and Policing the Body in Western Culture aims to promote an interdisciplinary debate over different types of representations of gender in popular culture, in a national / transnational and comparative perspective. In a Western context, multiple events (varied in terms of social and ideological meanings and dynamics) have been accompanied by nationalist rhetoric and discourses of fear, which have again gained visibility and momentum. These events are often complex and entail multiple responses and critical counteractions; their repetition in the media's echo chamber reflects varying degrees of bias which are, in turn, amplified by popular reactions.

The election / administration of Donald Trump in the USA and the ensuing backlash in the form of public protests (e.g. the Women’s March); the political assassination of human rights activist Marielle Franco (known for her vocal criticism of the violent actions of the military police in Brazil) and the subsequent worldwide demonstrations of solidarity towards her cause; the global reach of the #metoo hashtag that provided visibility to the pervasive ubiquity of harassment and sexual assault; or the recent persecution of the LGBTQI+ community in Chechnya, may be considered recent examples of these ricochet effects that continue to affect the ways in which bodies are regulated and controlled.

Western media and popular culture play a crucial part in disseminating representations of a large specter of identities, aided by an escalating consumption and development of technology (smartphones, tablets, etc.). Movies, television series, video games, music videos, among others, have a considerable impact in the social construction of mindsets regarding social markers like gender, class, sexuality, and ethnicity (especially among teenagers). Whether explicit or implied, both positive as well as negative/misguided representations continue to affect the progress towards the acceptance and integration of diverse identities into social, political, and economic spheres, urging us to re-conceptualize the endangered body.

We believe that the bond between artistic practices and academia should be reinforced when discussing issues of representation, thus, in order to demonstrate our support for practitioners that question and challenge visual representations and boundaries of the body, we are organizing an art exhibition to accompany the conference.

We welcome pieces (by individuals or collectives) related to the theme of the conference: Endangered Bodies: Representing and Policing the Body in Western Culture. Of all the works submitted, some will be selected for presentation / exhibition.

The practitioner/s selected to present their artworks are invited to attend the conference (and will receive a certificate of attendance). In addition, they will be invited to present their work or project in a round-table (closing the conference), discussing the challenges of representing the body in art. Here the practitioners will be able to discuss their perceptions of the issues discussed throughout the conference, and will also have the opportunity to answer questions about their work.

Through a collaborative process between the organizing committee and the artists, the works will be photographed and recorded, and later made available on our website.

Additionally, one of the artworks submitted will be selected by the organizing / scientific committee to be featured on all the promoting materials for the conference (posters, website, etc.). The selected artist(s) will be contacted for his/her/their permission, and will receive payment for this service.

We are seeking works that address the topics of the conference in a multitude of aesthetic approaches. We welcome submissions of all formats, including:

  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Spoken-word poetry
  • Site-specific
  • Performance
  • etc.

The pieces will be exhibited / presented at the main hall of the School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon from the 1st to the 15th of October, 2018. The conference will take place on the 8th and 9th of October (the round-table with the artists will be closing the sessions on the 9th of October).

Please send your submissions to endangeredbodies@letras.ulisboa.pt
Please feel free to contact us with any questions about the event.
Deadline for submissions: 31st July, 2018
Notification of acceptance: 30th August, 2018

  • Artists interested in participating with a performance, please describe in detail the requirements for the performance.
  • The delivery and reclaiming of the artworks is the responsibility of the artists.

About

CILM/CILM2

City and (In)security in Literature and the Media examines how anxieties about security have shaped current literary representations of the city both in Europe and in the US in the last two decades. It explores how, since the “war on terror” was announced, a growing number of novelists focused their work on urban settings, conveying generalised hesitations towards security: while, on the one hand, many of these novels depict a growing malaise regarding social and private insecurity, on the other hand, they also disclose an increasing awareness about the social and political construction of security discourses and practices.

Since 2013 we have been developing three major lines of research, one of which we explore in this conference:

Endangered Bodies: Genders and Genres of Insecurity: this line of research explores how gender and genre intersect in the creation of new narratives of insecurity but also observes how self-conscious approaches to genre by artists and writers have contributed to interrogate and critique notions of security and safety by highlighting how secure and safe spaces are often seen to be restricted to a specific “genus” or selected “genera,” reinforcing social categories and hierarchical classifications.

International Conference Endangered Bodies

 
Organizing committee
  • Ana Romão
  • Eva Dinis
  • Igor Furão
Scientific committee
  • Susana Araújo
  • Manuela Carvalho
  • Cristina Martínez Tejero
 
School of Arts and Humanities · FLUL, Lisbon
endangeredbodies@letras.ulisboa.pt