Call for Papers: The Modern Body 1830-Present, deadline 4 March 2016

The Modern Body, 1830-Present 
3 June 2016, University of York
Hosted by the Centre for Modern Studies

Deadline for abstracts: 4 March 2016 

We use bodies to work, to express, to question and to reveal. Bodies are spaces and sites of concern, becoming central foci in art, literature, media, and every aspect of culture. We talk about bodies in relation to health, power, strength, beauty, personality. After all the body is the ultimate site of identity. We ascertain our individualism and seek to define our selfhood by delineating boundaries between bodies, and between what is personal and impersonal.

Yet the body persists as a site of tension, full of contradictions, and anxieties of personal agency and control. This is especially pertinent in the Modern period, from 1830 to present day. In a period which experienced the introduction to evolutionary biology; the industrial revolution; social and political upheaval and progress; along with numerous medical and scientific advancements, the ways we view and use the physical body have been radically questioned, with the result that the body is represented in numerous provoking ways.

Bodies can be tools of protest and resistance, of violence, or even self-defence. Of course bodies are not always singular and individual. Groups, crowds and masses of people constitute bodies, coming together. Nor are they always somatic; we have political, bureaucratic and governmental bodies; we have bodies of knowledge and bodies of work. What bodies tell us and how the body can be represented across artistic and cultural forms has and continues to be a contested point of discussion across various disciplines.

The Centre for Modern Studies invites papers across all Arts and Humanities disciplines, on the subject on the Modern Body in the period from 1830 – present.

We welcome papers on various topics including, but not limited to:

  • Mechanical bodies
  • Industry and labour
  • Mind/ body relationships
  • Bodies of work
  • Bodies of knowledge
  • Embodied discourses
  • Ethnicities and race
  • Posthumanism
  • Sexuality
  • Senses
  • Health, illness and pain
  • Bodies at war
  • Performance

Please direct any queries to and we look forward to accepting proposals. Information about registration and conference details will be circulated shortly.