Social Anthropology
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Politics of the Gendered Body Call for Papers

We invite PhD, early career, and more seasoned scholars across disciplinary lines to a one day symposium to explore how the body allows for gender to be known, the ways gender is or is not tied to the body, and, among other topics, the temporal dimensions to gender and gendering.

Anthropological understandings of the body typically coalesce around the material, discursive, and semiotic. The body can shape the ways we relate to the world (Desjarlais 1997), thus structuring unique experiences of selves being in the world (Fanon 1986[1952]).  The body is, indeed, multiple (Mol 2002). We intend to explore relevant departures, transformations, congruencies, or implications having to do with how the body has been conceptualised as both political and gendered.

What are the boundaries and continuities between these concepts: politics, gender and the body? We seek to shed light on the different ways in which bodies come to be gendered and the inherent intersection of those processes with the political. The definition of politics is meant to be taken loosely so as to encompass relationships concerning states and government but also to include examinations of principles that seem to be embedded in certain activities, organisations or groups that may or may not overtly engage questions of authority, hierarchy, status or power.

We invite proposals of no more than 350 words that explore how, when, and why the body is imbued with meanings or values that gender it in particular ways. We call for papers that interrogate what gender might mean in different context s. Our objective is to engage questions like: What constitutes a gendered body? How do some bodies come to represent things? How do paradigms of embodiment play out? How and why are bodies read as feminine? Masculine? Androgynous?  We hope to discuss what those categories mean and how they unfold in contexts of health, justice, policy, religion, conflict. Are only human bodies gendered? Does the gendering of non human actors’ bodies reflect wider meanings? Are parts of the body gendered, and how does that relate to the body as a whole? Is it useful to de-centre the body from discussions of gender?

Perspectives outside of Social Anthropology are both welcomed and encouraged so as to foster a more dynamic approach and open up a space for inter-disciplinary conversation.

Please send abstracts to Alysa Ghose (a.e.ghose@sms.ed.ac.uk) and Lucy Lowe (lucy.lowe@ed.ac.uk) by 15th November.