Call for submissions for an essay collection proposal on:



In the early 20th century, the body came to function as a site of
contradictory cultural inscriptions with far-reaching consequences.  The
“natural” and “liberated” bodies of cultural reformers stood opposed to
the mechanized bodies of industrial workers; the steel bodies of
athletes had their counterparts in the convulsive and disfigured bodies
of nervous patients and wounded soldiers, etc.  Against this
constellation of bodily semantics, various modern practices designed to
inscribe meaning onto the body—e.g. gymnastics, competitive sports,
reform dance, tableaux vivants, Wandern, nudism—opened up new domains
for the performative production of identities.   


The new strategies of bodily inscription were also fundamentally
dependent upon various media (literature, visual art, photography and
film), whose representations and intermedial translations helped to
structure the “web of meaning” (Clifford Geertz) characterizing body
culture in the early 20th century. In this collection, we seek to
examine how artistic representations contributed to the production of
body cultural significations.  With their complex modes of ascribing
meaning, aesthetic media not only reflected broader cultural codes for
staging and interpreting modern bodies, but also helped to construct and
transform those same codes. This encounter between aesthetics and body
culture also entailed a self-reflexive process, in which art began to
reexamine its own role vis-à-vis new cultural practices that were
increasingly coming to structure the everyday lives of the masses.  In
this sense, body culture formed part of a broader debate on the relation
between art and modernity. 


Focusing on the Weimar Republic, this essay collection will probe the
new aesthetic constructions of the body and the complex cultural stakes
they involved.


Please send one-page abstracts to Michael Cowan ([log in to unmask]) or Kai
Sicks ([log in to unmask]).






Michael Cowan, M.A.
IFK Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften
Reichsratsstraße 17
1010 Wien
Tel.: (+43-1) 504 11 26-35
Fax: (+43-1) 504 11 32
[log in to unmask]


The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Karen Eng
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