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Call for Papers: “Violent Bodies”- Graduate Student Conference- The Ohio State University- Friday 10/30-Saturday 10/31, 2015

Violent bodies pervade literature and cultural history and remain a topic of profound importance in current events. Bodies both commit acts of violence — from the “law-making” violence of interpersonal conflict to the “law-preserving” state violence of the body politic (Benjamin) — and also experience violence inflicted upon them, often for expressly political purposes. Scholars such as Elaine Scarry and Lauren Berlant have studied how violence reconstitutes its victims’ realities through the affective structures of trauma and pain. Others have focused on how certain bodies can be scripted as violent. Violent embodiments in literature, film, television, digital media, journalism, and discourse sanction particular forms of material and psychological harm and disallow others. Inscribing violence onto bodies can thus police the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable deployments of force while regulating “deviant” expressions of race, gender, and sexuality (Foucault). We find violent bodies particularly instrumental in spectacular rhetorics of justice and human rights, where construals of victimization delimit public responses to violence and injustice (Hesford).

Accordingly, this year’s Graduate Conference organized by the English Graduate Organization (Dept of English, Ohio State University) will explore the many manifestations of “violent bodies”– broadly defined — in the context of literature, rhetoric, and cultural history. We invite graduate students to present papers that address related issues. Topics might include but are not restricted to:

  •   Death or dying in literature, film, or other media
  •   Disability and violence
  •   Medicine and the body
  •   Bodies performing violence
  •   Intersections of violence and identity
  •   Violence and affect
  •   State violence and the body politic
  •   Violence and human rights
  •   Historical studies of violence, death, and dying
  •   “Violence” that remakes bodies of textsOur Keynote speaker will be Wendy S. Hesford, Professor of English at The Ohio State University and author recently of Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms (Duke University Press, 2011).

    Submission Guidelines:

    Please submit your 250-300 word abstract as an e-mail attachment to ego.osu[at]gmail[dot]com by August 1. Kindly mention “Submission: EGOGraduate Conference” in the subject line of your e-mail. All submissions should include the title of the paper, the abstract as well as the name, the institutional affiliation, and contact information of the author. Also, there will be two awards given for the Best Graduate Student Papers for non-OSU students. For any additional queries, please feel free to contact us at ego.osu[at]gmail[dot]com.

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