CfP (GSA 2023 Panel): "Blood, Borders, and the Body: Shifts in how Bodies are Policed, Controlled, and Regulated," Black Diaspora Studies + Body Studies Network co-sponsored panel (Deadline: March 1, 2023)

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CfP: Blood, Borders, and the Body: Shifts in how Bodies are Policed, Controlled, and Regulated (German Studies Association, Forty-Seventh Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada, October 5-8, 2023) 


Policing of the body takes shape across gendered and racial lines, ranging from the hegemonic expectations of appearance and so-called civilized behavior in social spaces, to what Fatima El-Tayeb discusses in her article “Blood is a Very Special Juice,” as she explores the history of eugenics in Germany and the broader West. El-Tayeb identifies the roles of race and sexuality as pinnacle themes in the German “construction of national identity” (150). As Helga Schultz examines in “Mythos und Aufklärung: Frühformen des Nationalismus in Deutschland,” German-speaking regions of the late-19th and early-20th centuries required a unifying national myth behind which to rally and identify—with “white” blood having served as an influential point of emphasis in the establishment of systemized structures of reproductive control. Additional forms of bodily policing continue to contribute to the—in many ways intensified—focus on how bodies are valued, controlled, and restricted.

Further, the relationship between law enforcement and the public has been compromised by the seemingly never-ending list of unarmed, innocent victims who have fallen at the hands of the police. Increasing attention paid to police brutality gained momentum following the establishment of the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2013, with the most recent example being the murder of Keenan Darnell Anderson, cousin to #BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, at the hands of a LAPD officer on January 3rd, 2023. An international plea for the world to scrutinize the targeted, violent behaviors of the police toward Black and Brown people of color has resulted in global protests being thematized in German theater, like “On Noah's Bloodstained Rainbow, We Dance” (2020), and literature, like Friedrich Ani’s recent 2022 novel Bullauge. Additionally, the research of Vanessa Thompson offers an interdisciplinary inspection of state violence, resistance movements, and social calls for activism.

The networks of Black Diaspora Studies and Body Studies present this co-sponsored panel and welcome proposals that explore examples of intentional, systematic forms of bodily restriction and control. Possible topics of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • Shifting sensitivities to race and its intersection with national identity
  • Contemporary texts discussing bodily freedoms and/or restrictions
  • Social movements as they relate to changes in mainstream conversation pertaining to human rights
  • Forced sterilization; Restrictions in reproductive rights
  • Eugenics
  • Intersections between gender performance and race
  • Systematized oppression of the LGBTQIA+ community
  • Bodily presentation and perceptions of “civility”
  • Plastic surgery and social perceptions (and expectations) of beauty
  • Tensions around gender affirmation or sex reassignment surgery
  • Social media and the body
  • The impact(s) of the increasing popularity of genetic testing and correlating changes to how bodies are valued and assigned identity.
  • Borders and identity
  • Perceptions of being “______ enough” (ex. “German enough” or “Black enough”)

Please send a brief abstract (~350 words) and a short bio to Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni (, Vanessa Plumly (, and Cynthia D. Porter ( by March 1, 2023. Please note that all participants must be members of the GSA at the time of panel submission in March, 2023.