(Dis)Connected Forms: Narratives on the Fractured Self

8th and 9th September 2016

An Interdisciplinary Conference at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation

Co-organised by Gul Dag and Sandra Mills

University of Hull

Discourses concerning the concept of (dis)connection are especially prevalent in contemporary society. The relationship between the mind and the body – whether fractured or in flux – feeds into notions of identity, the self, and the ‘other’. Contemporary scholarship focusing upon borders, transformations and creations considers the manifold ways in which the body can be (re)organised and (dis)assembled.  

The notion of (dis)connection and the fragility of form is of central focus within a range of studies and genres. From the uncanniness of being in gothic and horror studies to the cerebral and corporeal fragmentation prevalent in science and speculative fictions, narratives on the fractured self continue to raise questions about the fundamentals of the lived experience.      


Plenary Speakers

Dr Catherine Spooner, Reader in Literature and Culture at Lancaster University

Asylum Chic, or, What to Wear to the Lunatics' Ball


Dr James Aston, Subject Leader for Screen at the University of Hull

“These movies have brought me many problems”: Performance and the Traumatised Self within Hardcore Horror


Dawn Woolley, Artist and Lecturer in Photography at Anglia Ruskin University 

The Selfie: Still Life or Nature Morte?


This conference aims to engage with contemporary academic debate relating to the theme of (Dis)Connected Forms, and will explore how these discourses manifest in narratives on the fractured self.

Possible questions for consideration:   

  • What does it mean to be (dis)connected, fractured, transformed, metamorphosed?
  • How are identities formed, managed, processed, controlled?
  • Are corporeal boundaries distinct, or fluid and open to alteration?
  • How is the self narrated/categorised?
  • How are beings created, crafted, constructed?
  • When/how can the ‘other’ be achieved? 
  • What threat does an ‘other’ pose?
  • Can the human be defined in relation to the cyborg, the lifeless, and the animal?
  • How does/will technology alter the body?

Possible focuses might include (but are not limited to):

  • (Dis)Embodiment
  • Identity
  • Human, cyborg, lifeless, animal
  • Transformation
  • Metamorphosis
  • Crisis of self
  • The ‘other’
  • Borders and boundaries
  • (Re)creations
  • The living and the dead
  • Deviance
  • Disguise
  • Revision/alteration


Papers are invited that address these questions in relation to fictional and non-fictional narratives. Submissions which encourage an interdisciplinary outlook will be welcomed. These could include, but are not limited to: literature; cultural studies; the sciences; the social sciences; historical perspectives; theatrical, musical and visual narratives; (auto)biography; personal reflections and creative pieces.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words for a twenty minute paper along with a brief biographical note of no more than 100 words todisconnectedforms@gmail.com. The deadline for abstract submission is 3rd April 2016.

For any enquiries please contact Gul Dag and Sandra Mills at disconnectedforms@gmail.com. For further information please see the website atdisconnectedforms.wordpress.com and follow @DisConnectForms on Twitter.