UCL Anthropology


Call For Papers: Body Plasticity: Intrusions and Extrusions

6 May 2015

Body Plasticity

A one-day Symposium on 10th July 2015

Daryll Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology,
14 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW

This symposium aims to explore the body as a technical apparatus of aesthetic performance and ethical commitments and to understand the socio-cultural genesis of the body as its boundaries are negotiated, contested, and blurred. The organisers seek to invite academic and artistic contributions on how people partner themselves with technology, render the body a site of technology, and use their body as a sited technology within urban spaces to form new subjectivities in their aesthetic engagement with reality.

This symposium will bring together collaborative research and art exploring the potential of the city as a living prosthetic that allows for concomitant claims to ownership and control as well as intrusions into the body such as artful body modifications, medical interventions, and cyborgian movements of enhancement. The rapid development of neurotechnologies and their implanted quality 'into' human flesh has challenged legal definitions of the body. At the same time, the concept of land as an extension of the human body has increasingly led to conflict concerning ancestral lands as heritage - both of indigenous groups and settler peoples who, each in their own way, identify their belonging to the land. Likewise contestations arise between 'ancient' propriety concerning the body as a place of self-expression and new modes of expression and sub-cultural identification. While each of these issues are unique and complex in their own right, they each speak to the negotiation of bodies along aesthetic and ethical lines, illuminated - each in their own way - by meta-discourses of heritage and deeply embodied and material notions of identity. We hope this symposium will offer new potential for creativity in developing human and social well-being through the body, technology, the clinic and urban space.

We welcome abstract submissions for papers that address these themes on the body and society including, but not limited to:

  • New approaches to the Anthropology of the Body
  • The body and aesthetics
  • Prosthetics and Cyborg relationships
  • Artful body modifications.
  • The Body in the City, and the City in the Body

We also welcome artistic contributions (multimedia, visual, performance, etc.) that engage with these themes from alternative perspectives and mediums, and we will provide viewing space for them on the day of the symposium.

To Submit: Please email a 250 word abstract the organizers by Monday, 25 May, 2015. Please include the title of the paper, author's name, affiliation, and email. Decisions will be returned by the 1 June.

The Symposium is free to attend, and lunch, coffee and tea, and a wine reception will be provided by the Symposium organisers. However, participants will need to make their own way to London.

We look forward to your contributions. Please email us with any inquiries.

Dr Aaron Parkhurst email: a.parkhurst@ucl.ac.uk
Dr Timothy Carroll
email: t.carroll@ucl.ac.uk
David Jeevendrampillai
email: david.jeevendrampillai.10@ucl.ac.uk

Image: Swoon "Bangkok", 2009-2012