Workshop "Bodies across Borders" Department of Germanic Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 16-17 April 2020

Barbara Laubenthal's picture
April 16, 2020 to April 17, 2020
Texas, United States
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Social Sciences, Political Science

Call for Papers

Bodies across Borders:

An interdisciplinary workshop on migration and corporeality

16-17 April 2020


In recent years a growing number of research from the humanities and social sciences has become interested in the human body. Despite different perspectives and research interests, this research shares the assumption that the human body is much more than a biological object. It focuses on the social, political and cultural dimensions of the human body. The interest of the various disciplines in the body ranges from analyzing it as an aesthetic site, viewing it as a cultural object, seeing it a place of power and resistance, or defining the body as a site that reflects the social constructions of differences. Overall, a broad and exciting research field has emerged. The workshops aims at contributing to this research field by discussing themes, theoretical approaches and empirical questions that emerge when the relation between the human body and immigration is put into focus. Geographically it focuses on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, although we also welcome relevant contributions on other European countries. Thematically we are interested in contributions on the following topics:

  • Violence, death and the migrant body (for example the politicization of immigrant corpses; the death of migrants as a result of immigration control policies but also corporeal strategies of resistance against restrictive immigration policies; uses of the body as a tool of protest)
  • Sports and immigration (for example sportive nationalism and the immigrant sports star; right-wing resistance to the racial/ethnic integration of the national team)
  • Historical and contemporary migration policies and the body (for example the control of the body as part of immigration policies, such as physical exams of so called guestworkers or postcolonial labor migrants in the post-war era; discourses and representations of migrants that emphasize their physical characteristics)
  • Ageing and dying in the host country (for example intercultural challenges for immigration societies by aging migrant populations, death rituals and religious diversity in the host society)
  • Refugees and health (for example physical and mental issues related to the refugee experience, trauma, health care for refugees in the host country)

We welcome contributions from cultural studies, literature studies, history, political science, sociology, anthropology and media studies. The 2-day workshop will take place in a format that facilitates an intensive discussion among the participants.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop please send an abstract (150-200 words) and a short bio to by 16 December 2019. Coverage of travel costs may be available in some cases.


Contact Info: 

Dr. Barbara Laubenthal/Dr. John Hoberman

Department of Germanic Studies

The University of Texas at Austin