CFP: Nineteenth-Century Bodies (March 16-19, 2017, Philadelphia PA USA)

Penny Richards's picture


Nineteenth-century bodies were poked and prodded, characterized, caricatured, corseted and cossetted, disciplined, displayed, naturalized, normalized, medicalized, mapped and mechanized. Sciences and pseudosciences brought the body under scrutiny to an unprecedented degree—phrenology, psychology, physiology, anatomy, paleontology, microbiology, germ theory, principles of population, zoology, and sexology, all contributing to the proliferation of bodily discourses. Improvements in medicine and sanitation coexisted with poor sewage, and the ever-present fear of disease, and bodies were variously protected and regulated through Factory Acts, Public Health Acts, and the Contagious Diseases Act. Hospitals, workhouses and freakshows corralled and categorized. Pre-raphaelite painters proferred strong and sexualized women, while overpopulated novels featured the blind and deaf, fragile children and disabled adults, and all worried whether such outward signs accurately attested to the content of a character. Meanwhile, changes wrought in understanding one kind of body reverberated through its analogs; the human body was taken as model for corporate bodies, the body politic, bodies of knowledge—and vice versa. And where there is a model, a norm, there is also that which defies and defines that norm. INCS 2017 will pay special attention to the problematic, marginalized and metaphoric—to odd bodies.

queer bodies

raced bodies

busy bodies

body markings

disabled bodies


bodies behaving badly

the body as spectacle

fragmented bodies

disciplined bodies

animal bodies

circus & freak show bodies

bodies at work or play

bodies in contact

unlikely friendships/romances

sexy bodies

naked bodies

diseased bodies


the anatomized body

dead bodies

body snatchers


spirit bodies

mythical bodies

angels, monsters, and ghosts

the gendered body

intellectual women

odd women, blue stockings, New Women

the body of the insane, the eccentric

characters & caricatures

ugly bodies

corporate bodies

bodies of knowledge

bodies of evidence

bodies of work

colonial bodies

traveling bodies

and the body politic…


Deadline: November 1, 2016. Upload proposals via the conference website coming soon. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Please include a one-page CV with your name, affiliation, and email address. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome.

Questions? Contact Barri Gold at


Categories: CFP