2017-2018 Theme: Bodies and Boundaries, 1500-1800

Conference Website

Bodies and Boundaries, 1500-1800

University of California, Santa Barbara

Conference Date: March 9-10, 2018

Abstracts Due: December 31, 2017


The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara invites proposals for our annual conference, “Bodies and Boundaries, 1500-1800,” to be held on March 9 and 10, 2018. We are happy to announce our two keynote speakers: Laurie Shannon (Northwestern University) and Michelle Burnham (Santa Clara University).


We invite presentations that connect broadly to our theme of bodies and boundaries in early modernity. With the rise of both border studies and body studies in the academy, and the imperative need to think with and be with bodies at political, cultural, and social borders, we hope to investigate the ways that bodies and borders shape and inform literature, art, music, history, religion, philosophy, or other fields of inquiry. How are both bodies and boundaries intimately connected to our study of early modernity? And what is at stake in rethinking both the boundaries of the body, and bodies at various borders?


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The boundaries of the body
  • Bodies in, at, and near borders and borderlands
  • The non-human animal, animality
  • “Bare life,” bio-politics, bio-technology
  • The politics of ethics and asylum
  • The transatlantic early modern
  • Race, religion, ethnicity
  • The violence of colonialism and imperialism
  • Disability in early modernity
  • Disciplinary boundaries, periodization
  • Sex, sexuality, gender, trans* studies, queerness
  • Embodied voice, the aural, sound studies
  • Limits, liminality, the in-between
  • Affect, emotion, phenomenology, cognitive literary studies
  • Cartesian dualism (and its limits)
  • Transgression
  • Food, incorporation, digestion, waste
  • Ecological and environmental boundaries

We invite abstracts of 300 words or less and a 1-page CV to be sent to EMCConference@gmail.com by December 15, 2017. In the spirit of the pushing boundaries, we envision and invite both traditional conference presentations, shorter 10 minute presentations to be delivered in a roundtable discussion, or other ideas that engage with the audience.

Please feel free to contact the conference organizer, Katie Adkison, at emcfellow@gmail.com with any questions you may have.