Body Projects Conference
The aim of this conference is to facilitate discussion on the contemporary female body, its relation to body modification and its situation in the contemporary world.
It has been claimed that the unaltered female body is an unacceptable entity in the contemporary west and that the female body physically bears the marks of contemporary culture through the modification enacted upon it. The body is part of the embodied experience of an individual, but also, and increasingly, an object for critique.
Our definition of body modification is broad, from shaved legs to buttock implants; from the honed ‘fit’ body to ‘fat-reducing’ surgery; from self-tanning to pro-ana; from piercings to gender reassignment. For this event we hope to bring together academics working on issues of body modification from a variety of perspectives and using different methodologies. This will not only help us learn from each other and open up interdisciplinary dialogue, but also – we hope – challenge entrenched ideas.
There are many reasons for holding this conference now, from the current popular ‘obsession’ with the changing and changeable woman’s body, to longstanding, but still pertinent, feminist engagements with the meanings of female embodiment.
Current research within the field of body modification focuses on practices in contemporary culture and wider cultural influences. Whilst agency and oppression are still salient issues, the complexity of their interrelation requires further investigation. This conference seeks to build on current debates, drawing on work being undertaken from postgraduate level upwards. Using interdisciplinary approaches, the conference will contribute to addressing the gaps in knowledge in this field, highlighting the specificity of the embodied female experience and the negotiation practices involved internally in decisions made on body modification. The conference will approach these practices from the body in situ physically and culturally to address body modification as a specific form of action with specific meaning undertaken on a body that holds a specific place with in culture.