Call for Papers-War and the Body

Interdisciplinary one day conference
Centre for European & International Studies Research, University of Portsmouth and the War and Media Network

Friday June 11th 2010
Imperial War Museum, London UK.

War is fundamentally embodied, “the most radically embodying event in which human beings ever collectively participate” (Scarry, 1985: 71). War is enacted and experienced through the surveillance, classification, wounding, rape, mutilation, torture, death and display of human bodies. Diverse bodies are mobilized, disciplined, drilled, augmented, sacrificed, decorated, produced in war. The history of war is one of corporeal destruction and reconstruction, from the conversion of civilian bodies for military service to the battle for hearts and minds. The reality of war is not just politics by any other means, but politics incarnate.

War and the Body invites proposals that seek to explore the embodied history of war as well as recent transformations in warfare. Through what practices, techniques and metaphors has war historically occupied various bodies? From advanced warfighters to private military contractors, child soldiering to ethnic cleansing, is war assuming predatory new embodied formations? To what extent is war deterritorialized and brought home through bodily practices such as militarized leisure and fashion, security and surveillant assemblages? How do bodies bear witness to the histories and transformative power of war through representations of bodily violence and corporeal memorializations?

Recognizing the growing interest in the embodiment of human life and social action across the humanities and social sciences, War and the Body aims to bring together international scholars and researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives who share a common thematic concern with the intertwining of war and the
body. As such, it acknowledges the importance of the body as an increasingly productive site for rethinking and retooling the historical and sociological imaginations.

Empirical analyses and theoretical contributions are welcome. Anticipated questions and topics may include, but are not limited to:

• How are military principles and values inculcated, and resisted, in civilian bodies?
• How are war and political violence lived and experienced through the body?
• What bodies does war traverse, inscribe, produce?
• Bodies and weaponry
• War and human vulnerability
• Corporeal aftermaths, memorializations and mourning
• Representing war and the body: cinema, literature, documentary, photography, new media
• Cultural histories of war and embodiment
• The body politic: wounded nations, national traumas
• The militarization of human sensation

Please send abstracts of proposed papers (max 500 words), together with brief biographical details by 31st December 2009 to: All proposals are subject to a review process. Selected papers from the conference will be published as a themed issue of a relevant journal or edited collection.

For more information please visit:

Organizing Committee
Kevin McSorley, University of Portsmouth (
Gavin Schaffer, University of Portsmouth (
Sarah Maltby, City University, London (

This conference is supported by the Centre for European & International Studies Research, University of Portsmouth ( and the War and Media Network (


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