CFP Workshop 'Bodies of Occupation', University of Nottingham Malaysia, 15-17 September 2020

Stephanie Benzaquen-Gautier's picture
September 15, 2020 to September 17, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies


Bodies of occupation 

An international workshop 

15 - 17 September 2020

University of Nottingham Malaysia


The aim of this three-day workshop organised through the ERC-funded 'Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia' (COTCA) Project  ( is to explore the ways in which the body mediates between different levels, agents, forms, spaces and media of occupation. In a variety of arenas, such as law, health, trade, social activities, family life, beliefs and rituals, the body consitutes a major site of interaction between the 'occupier' and the 'occupied'. To what extent does a bodily perspective make possible to write histories of violence and domination 'from below'? Through which methodologies, sources, and materialities can we approach bodies of occupation? What does the shift from the narrative to the performative produce in terms of critical knowledge about 'occupation'? These and others are the questions the workshop proposes to address. 'Occupation' is defined in a broad sense, including 'high intensity' forms (e.g., imperialism, settler colonialism, military operations, political repression, extractivism, neoliberal use of bodies as productive/reproductive machines) and 'low intensity' forms (e.g., transitional justice initiatives, 'soft power', economic investments, mass tourism). With this large scope, the workshop aims to foreground continuity across a range of temporalities, locations, and topographies of occupation, and then emphasise the linkages between historical, political, structural, and 'slow' violence.


Topics include (but are not limited to):

1. Discipline and the body as a site of power relations

2. The 'body as spectacle' and the visual archive of occupation

3. Territories and practices of gendered occupation

4. Bodily performances of resistance, identity, and intersectionality

5. Ecologies and embodied legacies of occupation


The workshop brings different conceptualisations of the body into conversation. Moreover, it seeks to re-conceptualise 'occupation' outside anthropocentric modes of cognition and representation, and to integrate multi-species agenc (posthuman and nonhuman: Earth, nature, plants, stones, animals, bacteria, cells, ghosts) into the discussion. 


The workshop will be discussion-oriented and include individual presentations. Proposals for 20-minute paper are welcome from scholars at all stages of their career. Paper abstracts of 300 words, along with a short biographical note of no more than 100 words (indicating institutional affiliation, position, and contact details) should be sent to by the deadline of Wednesday, 15 April 2020. A decision on abstracts will be made in May 2020.


Selected presenters will be eligible for reimbursement of some travel costs to and from Malaysia and will be provided with accommodation and meals during the workshop.  


Questions can be directed to Stephanie Benzaquen-Gautier, via






Contact Info: 

Stephanie Benzaquen-Gautier

ERC Research Fellow 

'Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia' (COTCA) 

University of Nottingham, UK