Bodies in Flux: Rewriting the Body in Medieval Literature, Art and Culture 1000-1450 – Call For Papers

Bodies in Flux: Rewriting the Body in Medieval Literature, Art and Culture 1000-1450
University of Warwick
Saturday 20 May, 2017

Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr Miranda Griffin (St Catharine’s College, Cambridge)
  • Dr Robert Mills (UCL)
  • Dr Debra Strickland (University of Glasgow)

What is it to have a body? And to experience change and transformation through that body?

A focus on the material body in critical theory and philosophy has, in recent decades, produced varied and stimulating challenges to the ways that we think about and engage with bodies, particularly in the fields of gender and sexuality, queer theory, posthumanism, disability studies, and the ‘material turn’. Discussion of how bodies interact with, are situated in, or are delineated from social, political, and cultural phenomena illuminates our understanding of the experience of embodiment, and the representation of this experience. Similar debates, discussions, and anxieties were expressed in the Middle Ages.

This interdisciplinary conference asks what the transformation of the body means for the conception of bodies of different kinds: human, nonhuman, animal, material, divine, and how the representation of these changes in different media reflects on and inflects the boundaries conventionally associated with the body. We welcome abstracts from scholars working in any area of medieval studies, including literature, art history, history of medicine, and history of religion; we encourage proposals that engage with critical theory or challenge disciplinary boundaries, as well as those approaching the topic in more historical ways.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • metamorphosis
  • boundaries between species
  • boundaries between materials
  • volatile matter
  • changing forms
  • spiritual bodies
  • transubstantiation
  • transforming saints
  • vulnerable bodies
  • death, illness, injury
  • medical transformations
  • bodily miracles
  • translating bodies
  • bodies in text and image
  • allegory and symbolism
  • transforming meaning

Please submit abstracts of 250 words to by 15 December, 2016.

Contact details

Organisers: Liam Lewis Jane Sinnett-Smith (Email: