Blood, Tears, Sweat: Corporeality in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

12 September 2015, The University of Western Australia

A public lecture by Professor Anthony Bale (Birkbeck, London) will precede the conference on the evening of 11 September 2015.

The ‘material turn’ has increasingly drawn the attention of scholars interested in the art, history, literatures, and cultures of pre-modern Europe. This one-day conference will explore aspects of embodiment and corporeality in medieval and early modern worlds, both within Europe and between European and non-European cultures. We expect the conference to focus on analysing the interactions, meanings, and symbolism of three key bodily substances: blood, sweat, and tears. Existing scholarship has laid the foundation for work on bodies and disciplines, gendered bodies, medieval and early modern anatomy, the bodies of saints, and the body of Christ, but fruitful new lines of enquiry still wait to be investigated. Papers that probe the boundaries and intersections between the cultural history of violence, medical humanities, and theories and practices of affectivity are especially welcome.

The convenors of the UWA Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies & Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group 21st Annual Conference invite proposals for twenty-minute papers or ninety-minute panels on the following themes:
  • cultural exchanges and conflict, particularly their material dimensions and repercussions as meetings and mixings of bodies and bloods;
  • social, theological, ethnic, and physiological definitions of bodies and bloods;
  • the formation of metaphorical bodies through affective discourses and discourses of violence;
  • boundaries, bodily integrity, dismemberment, and contagion;
  • somatic expressions of emotion (the force of tears, sweat and blood as tangible emotion);
  • intersections between medical theories and practices relating to humours and effluvia.

Submissions for individual papers should include a paper title, a c.300-word abstract, participant’s name, affiliation (if any), email address, and audio/visual requirements. Submissions for panels should include a panel title and brief description, the name and affiliation of the panel chair (if one is being provided), paper titles, 300-word abstracts, participants’ names, affiliations and contact details for individual papers within the panel, and audio/visual requirements.

Please email submissions to Dr Joanne McEwan by 31 July 2015. **Deadline Extended**