Call for Papers

7th Annual Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies Graduate Student Conference and Workshop at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

April 3-4, 2015

Branding the “Other”: Biopolitics, Memory, and Identity in Cultural Representations

Keynote lecture to be delivered by: Dr. Gayle Salamon, Princeton University

The body is the canvas on which identity is painted. It is the physical manifestation of the ideal “I”: how we see ourselves, and how we would like to be seen. As such an integral tool of identification, the body can also be manipulated to create the social stratifications that define the societal “other,” becoming a marker of our various political and ideological affinities. This conference seeks to explore the connections between the tangible—our bodies—and the intangible—our memories, identities and the biopolitical power structures that form and inform them. Additionally, “Branding the ‘Other’” aspires to promote interdisciplinary dialogue about notions of bodies as sites to express resistance to dominant ideologies and as sites of cultural exercises of power.

Possible session topics include but are not limited to:

  • Distinctions between Normative Cultural Markers and Self-Mutilation
  • Close Readings or Interpretations of Tattoos
  • Bodily Markings/Tattoos as Forms of Social Transgression
  • Transformative Transgression: Bodies for Rebellion
  • Diet and Exercise as Body Modification
  • “Immunity” and Identity Formation
  • Memory, Biopower and Physical Transformation
  • Consumption and Identity
  • Buying Identity: Brand Names as Group Identifiers
  • “Digesting” the Other: Cultural Appropriation
  • Using the body as a Cultural Marker of Minority Groups
  • Relationship between Collective Memory and Bodily Identifications

Conference Structure

This conference/workshop will have a keynote address and panels on Friday, followed by additional panels on Saturday. Central to the conference is a graduate-seminar style workshop on Saturday afternoon. The keynote speaker leads the workshop, exploring the issues presented and discussed during the conference in more detail and depth. Presenters are requested to arrange their travel so that they can participate in the entire event, including the workshop. There will also be a closing reception Saturday evening, which is open to all participants and audience members.

To apply: Please send a 500 word abstract along with a brief biographical statement, in a separate document, to csconference.unm@gmail.com by January 30, 2015. Selected participants will be notified by February 9, 2015. You can also visit our webpage for additional information about the conference. Note: Housing is available with UNM graduate students and limited travel support will be available for qualified graduate student presenters, please inquire.