“Everyday Matters: Embodied Life and Experience,” Univ. of Chicago, April 9-10

“Everyday Matters: Embodied Life and Experience”

April 9 and 10, 2010

Call For Papers

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce the upcoming conference entitled “Everyday Matters: Embodied Life and Experience”, which is scheduled to take place April 9th and 10th of 2010.   Outside contributors thus far include philosopher Jonathan Rée, anthropologists Margaret Lock and Elizabeth Povinelli, archaeologist Sarah Tarlow, and visual artist Vesna Jovanovic. In addition, we have space for a few additional presentations from University of Chicago students and faculty.

The conference is envisioned as an opportunity to engage in conversations that will push toward domains and issues related to body, materiality, and experience. While a signifying body has long been presumed in anthropology, new inquiries are shifting attention to material bodies and lived experience. Attending to the clinical, carnal, pharmaceutical, spiritual, technological, biomedical, folk and biopolitical techniques and spaces of everyday lived experience, we call for a reimagination of materiality and the reality of “the human” and “life.” What forms of embodiment can we conceive, in practice, historically or in the contemporary moment? If human essence is not presupposed but assumed to be composed in processes that require explanation, how do we imagine experience, shared or otherwise? Asking questions about biology and ontology, perception and agency, the scholarship we seek to present upsets the binary of culture-nature, locating processes of bodily production in the entangled spaces between classical domains. Starting from the premise that bodies and subjectivities are always local, contingent, and historical forms of existence, and inquiring about the spatiotemporality of the “human” and about “life,” this conference leaves the materiality of bodies open to newly imagined empirical projects and invites a rethinking of embodiment via ethnography, archaeology, history, philosophy, literary and visual culture studies.

Presentations will be 15 minutes in length; no papers will be pre-distributed. If you wish to be considered for the conference, please send a title and a one-paragraph abstract to Aaron Seaman (ats2@uchicago.edu) by Tuesday, March 9.

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