Call for participation

Call for Participation: Symposium on Mind – Body – Violence

Funded by the British Academy

June 28th, 2018

University of Edinburgh

Defining, researching and understanding the concept of ‘violence’ is challenging and contested. At the centre of debates around violence is the enduring problematic of a mind/body dualism. Ongoing developments in the fields of disability studies, the health humanities, illness studies, and violence studies place conversations about mind and body at the centre of their disciplines; in part, this symposium seeks to address some of the following questions: What is the effect of bodily violence on the mind? How do we categorise and understand the intersections of body and mind through the experiences of violence? What can the emerging field of health humanities offer to understandings of mind-body-violence?

This one-day symposium will provide an engaging and innovative forum in which to explore and interrogate intersections between violence, mind, and body. Attendance is free, but limited to 25-30 delegates, which we hope will draw from a wide range of working scholars, graduate students, and non-scholars with interest in the topic. We invite contributions from a range of disciplinary perspectives allied to health humanities (e.g. literature, drama, history, gender studies, sociology, and anthropology) who are interested in violence and how this intersects with wider understandings of what Margaret Price, among others, suggests calling “bodyminds.”

The day will be organised around a series of workshops and roundtable discussions; as such, attendees will not present formal work but will rather be a part of what we hope is an cross-disciplinary investigation of the body, mind, and violence.

In lieu of more formal presentations, we also invite proposals with the application for contributions of 5-minute provocations around the following thematic areas (see below). Proposals may take the form of oral presentations, as well as more creative contributions (e.g. music, dance, poetry, theatre). The 5 minute limit is strict, however, as we want to maximise opportunities for mutual discussion and form a base from which to launch interdisciplinary conversations:

  • Bodymind in Parts (Georgie Lucas, University of Nottingham): This session invites perspectives that consider how the performance of violence (e.g. massacre, rape, dismemberment) that literally or figuratively reduces the body into parts can inform understandings of the temporal and eternal self. Approaches and subjects might include, but are not limited to, historical or contemporary understandings of violence and the self; artistic or creative responses to, or representations of, violence and the bodymind experience; and different cultural conception of this dynamic.
  • Bodymind in Pain (Sarah Nance, United States Air Force Academy): This session investigates the relationship of the bodymind to pain, whether through suffering, illness, or violence. Particular attention will be paid to the way that pain can reify or “repair” the perceived division between mind and body; that is, does pain distance us from our bodies or return us to our bodies? The session will also consider the possibility of representing pain within language. Approaches might include, among others: literary and artistic representations of pain; medical and health intersections with the body and/or pain; and narrated accounts of pain, whether through memoir, visual art, medical narratives, or sociological/anthropological study.
  • Bodymind in Practice (Amy Chandler, University of Edinburgh): This session considers how violent practices – and practices of accounting for these – produce or unsettle the concept of an integrated bodymind. In doing so, the session explicitly engages with definitions of violence and of bodies/selves, and will attend to the ways in which different practices come to be understood as ‘violent’ – or not. Particularly relevant practices might include (but are not restricted to): self-harm, suicide, intimate partner abuse, gender-based violence, surgeries.

To apply to attend: please submit a short paragraph summarising your interest in the symposium topic; to apply to contribute a 5-minute provocation (not required for attendance), please also include a 250-word abstract, giving an indication of the content of your contribution, as well as the medium of presentation.

Please send abstracts/applications to: mindbodyviolence@gmail.com by 4th May 2018. Applications will be reviewed and decisions made by 11th May 2018.

For further information: please feel free to contact mindbodyviolence[at]gmail.com.

To discuss contributing to a particular theme in advance of your submission, please email the theme lead:

Dr. Georgie Lucas (Bodymind in Parts) – georgina.lucas[at]nottingham.ac.uk
Dr. Sarah Nance (Bodymind in Pain) – sarah.nance[at]usafa.edu
Dr. Amy Chandler (Bodymind in Practice) – a.chandler[at]ed.ac.uk

Image credit: ‘The massacre of the innocents. Engraving by F. Bartolozzi after Granger after Guido Reni.’ by Guido Reni. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

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