Precarious Bodies

Doctoral Symposium at the University of Zurich, November 22-24, 2012

In a culture characterized by an extreme visibility of the human body, we are accustomed to seeing precarious bodies: they appear in fleeting images and often come in disintegrated, maimed, ridiculed, or monstrous forms. Yet the precariousness of our bodies has always been a concern of the arts. Bodies are envisioned as carriers of meaning, as sites of order, stability and completeness, while at the same time, their materiality continuously subverts these desires, resulting in anxieties as well as fantasies. Reading the body as the point of intersection between the public and the private, the sentient and the rational, the transcendent and the carnal, we want to investigate how representations of bodies have changed throughout literary history and how historically and thematically diverse texts and images relate to the transient and liminal nature of body and skin.

Keynote speakers:
Dr Joanne Winning (Birkbeck University of London)
Dr Lesel Dawson (University of Bristol)

Organized by:
Michelle Dreiding (English Department, University of Zurich)
Michael Maupin (English Department, University of Zurich)
Sarina Tschachtli (German Department, University of Zurich)

Conference Program (PDF, 1594 KB)