Call for Papers

In response to the perceived neglect of the body as a category of cultural analysis, the concept of

embodiment has been theorized in recent years in an attempt to move beyond the Cartesian dualism

and to overcome the nature/culture split. Feminist theory and gender studies have been concerned

with the cultural implications of embodiment, arguing for a move from viewing the body as a

nongendered, prediscursive phenomenon to regarding it as an acculturated body that is being 'lived

in'. With its focus on a person's being "aged by culture" (Margaret Gullette), age studies has

extended this view to the embodied experience of ageing, while drawing attention to the ways in

which the ageing body in its materiality and plasticity restricts the possibilities of (de-)constructing

subjectivity. Therefore, the Foucaultian notion of "biopower", with its treatment of the body as a

projection screen for the playing out of power and knowledge structures, has been extended into

more flexible conceptions of embodiment focusing on "the somatic self" (Nikolas Rose) or

"biosociality" (Paul Rabinow). As a consequence, the new emphasis on the materiality of both body

and mind in contemporary "neurocultures" has to be taken into account critically in relation to

shifting notions of biopolitics.

These current debates on embodiment have a strong counterpart in literary representation.

Therefore, this volume aims to investigate how liminal embodied experiences such as illness, death

and dying affect literary form. Proceeding from the assumption that these experiences problematize

and shift the limits of narration itself, contributions will explore exemplary works of art from the

period of literary modernism onwards to include also contemporary culture. With its focus on

experimentalism, the fragmentary and a reduced aesthetics, modern and postmodern literature

seems particularly appropriate for studying liminal experience. Furthermore, modernist

experimentalism has been seen in a dialogic exchange with similarly experimental tendencies in

medical psychology and physiology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Together,

these approaches have shaped modern concepts of embodiment, thus providing a bridge to our

contemporary critical engagement with the acculturated body and embodied mind.

Please send a short outline (300 words maximum) of your chapter detailing your choice of topic, the

literary or cultural texts you will be analysing, and your working thesis by 30 September 2017 to

hhartung@uni-potsdam.de

Please include also a short text with biographical information. The deadline for the whole essay

(6000 to 9000 words) is 31 December 2017.