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Call for Papers


Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin


4th International Conference


American Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Modes of Power


May 27– 28, 2011


Bodies, both collective and individual, are the sites at which power is negotiated. America is composed of bodies – political, economic, religious, bodies of knowledge, of water, of work, of evidence, as well as constructs of race, gender, age, beauty and ablebodiedness. Bodies govern and are governed. They experience exposure and insecurity, they are demarcated, historicized, institutionalized, narrated, theorized, and visualized. Bodies in motion pictures can transcend boundaries in a fictional setting. The introduction of full body scanners at airports intimates the “body as a weapon” and indicates changed attitudes toward privacy and security, reinforcing stigmatization. Debates rage about how much power regulatory bodies should have over the stock market. Conceptualizing American bodies as matter and metaphor, this conference intends to create an open space for critical and interdisciplinary reflections on the construction, representation, exercise, experience, and translation of American bodies, seeking to uncover the modes of power present in North America.


In the tradition of the Graduate School of North American Studies, we welcome interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary contributions covering any topic relevant to the study of American bodies.


Papers can address, but are not limited to, the following topics:


-           Conceptualizations of power: Governmentality and Biopolitics

-           Pressures of (in)security: the exposure, protection and transgression of bodies

-           Corporations, regulatory bodies, and economic power

-           (Un)American bodies? Histories of race, citizenship and immigration

-           Transnationalism and diaspora; shapes of a ”nation”

-           Conceptions of gender, masculinity, femininity, transgender, queer and identity

-           Histories of the Physique: Perceptions of Health, Beauty and Ablebodiedness

-           The body as a linguistic matter: Narrating and Interpreting “American” Bodies

-           Bodies of work: literature, authorship, and canonization

-           Bodies in motion: performance, film and television

-           Bodies and networks: actors, objects and associations

-           Painting Bodies: Representing the body in Fine Arts and illustrations

-           Bodies of faith: the changing face of religion in America

-           Bodies crossing borders, transcending boundaries: Tourists and migrants.


Abstracts should be limited to 250 words and be accompanied by the author’s name, e-mail address and institutional affiliation. The deadline for submission is February 11th, 2011. A confirmation email will be sent when we receive your abstract.  Please submit all abstracts and questions to: gsnas.conference2011@gsnas.fu-berlin.de


The conference language will be English.

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft