What does it mean to study the body today?

Bodies can be collective, material, medicalized, biological, sexual, queer, trans, normative, political, racial, transnational, ecological, historical, useful, global, affective, gendered, disabled, surveilled, controlled, subjected, transformed, enhanced, engineered, empowered, organized, discursive, aesthetic, translated, theorized, aging, acting, voting, managed, merging, migrating, moving, constructing, creating, performing.

How are scholars thinking about bodies? Because the study of the body and of bodies has changed dramatically in the last decade, we propose to gather a group of diverse scholars to talk across traditional disciplines, and to take stock of where these studies are and where they are heading.

Join the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh as we host a transdisciplinary, international conference March 31 - April 2, 2016: Doing the Body in the 21st Century.

We are planning a variety of formats: keynotes, panels, and 10 discussion-based sessions around recent or forthcoming books on the conference topic (see Meet the Author below).

Prof. McRuer will lead a discussion of work from his book manuscript Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance

The conference will begin on Thursday at 5pm with a keynote lecture by Prof. Cvetkovich titled "The Sovereignty of the Senses." It will conclude on Saturday evening with a lecture by Prof. Murphy titled "Alterlife in the Aftermath." 

Prof. Chávez will present "The Queer Politics of Coalition," and Prof. Beauchamp will offer a talk ""On Tracking and Transitions."

 Current News

  • Thank you to the nearly 200 people who have accepted to present at the conference.
  • The conference program is available on the Program tab above.
  • Conference Details

Meet the Author

The following authors will host discussion sessions on their recently released or forthcoming books. We encourage conference participants to read a preferred book (or sections of) before the conference. Selections of each book are now available for download here. (Contact us for the password). Books currently available will be on sale at the conference (thanks to the Pitt bookstore).

  • Erynn Masi de Casanova - Buttoned Up: Clothing, Conformity, and White-Collar Masculinity (Cornell University Press, 2015)
  • Yolanda Covington-Ward - Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo (Duke University Press, 2015) 
  • Cathy Hannabach - Blood Cultures: Medicine, Media, and Militarisms (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2015)
  • Rachel Hurst - Surface Imaginations: Cosmetic Surgery, Photography, and Skin (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015) 
  • Christine Labuski - It Hurts Down There: The Bodily Imaginaries of Female Genital Pain (SUNY Press, 2015)
  • Kimerer LaMothe - Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming (Columbia University Press, 2015)
  • Laura Mauldin - Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising a Deaf Child (University of Minnesota Press, 2016)
  • Sara Moslener - Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence (Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Victoria Pitts-Taylor - The Brain’s Body: Neuroscience and Corporeal Politics (Duke University Press, 2016) 

N.B.: Professor Pitts-Taylor's book has just been released at Duke UP.

Call for Papers

Deadline: October 15, 2015

Please send a 200-word abstract for a 20-minute paper on some aspect of the body/bodies to bodyconf@pitt.edu. Panels of three abstracts on a related topic are also welcome. 

While all proposals on the topic are welcome, we plan to have clusters of panels employing diverse tools to investigate affect, migration, trans corporalities, and the power and products of technologies both established and emerging.

We take “technologies” in the broadest sense of the term: digital, medical, media, textual, symbolic, scientific, engineering, nano, micro, macro, global, military, creative, destructive, defensive, constructive, transformative, transgressive.

We encourage scholars with salient book manuscripts to be published in 2015-2016 to nominate their work for sessions in which the author discusses pre-circulated work with conference attendees.

Conference Flyer [PDF]