INCS 2017 Conference – ODD BODIES


March 16-19, Sheraton Society Hill, Philadelphia

Nineteenth-century bodies were poked and prodded, characterized, caricatured, corseted and cossetted, disciplined, displayed, naturalized, normalized, medicalized, mapped and mechanized. Sciences and pseudosciences brought the body under scrutiny to an unprecedented degree—phrenology, psychology, physiology, anatomy, paleontology, microbiology, germ theory, principles of population, zoology, and sexology, all contributing to the proliferation of bodily discourses. Improvements in medicine and sanitation coexisted with poor sewage, and the ever-present fear of disease, and bodies were variously protected and regulated through Factory Acts, Public Health Acts, and the Contagious Diseases Act. Hospitals, workhouses and freakshows corralled and categorized. Pre-raphaelite painters proferred strong and sexualized women, while overpopulated novels featured the blind and deaf, fragile children and disabled adults, and all worried whether such outward signs accurately attested to the content of a character. Meanwhile, changes wrought in understanding one kind of body reverberated through its analogs; the human body was taken as model for corporate bodies, the body politic, bodies of knowledge—and vice versa. And where there is a model, a norm, there is also that which defies and defines that norm. INCS 2017 will pay special attention to the problematic, marginalized and metaphoric—to odd bodies.

Queer bodies, raced bodies, busy bodies, body markings, disabled bodies, prosthetics, bodies behaving badly, the body as spectacle, fragmented bodies, disciplined bodies, animal bodies, circus & freak show bodies, bodies at work or play, bodies in contact, unlikely friendships/romances, sexy bodies, naked bodies, diseased bodies, vivisection, the anatomised body, dead bodies, body snatchers, embodiment/disembodiment, spirit bodies, mythical bodies, angels, monsters, and ghosts, the gendered body, intellectual women, odd women, blue stockings, New Women, the body of the insane, the eccentric, characters & caricatures, ugly bodies, corporate bodies, bodies of knowledge, bodies of evidence, bodies of work, colonial bodies, traveling bodies and the body politic.

Deadline: November 1, 2016. Upload proposals via the conference website coming soon. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Please include a one-page CV with your name, affiliation, and email address. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome.

Questions? Contact Barri Gold at