Communication and Construction of Monstrous Embodiment
June 15-16, 2012

Friday, 20 April 2012

Keynote Lectures: Titles Announced

Dear All, we are thrilled to announce our brilliant keynote lecture titles! The lectures will be followed by short response papers and an engaging discussion!
The titles are as follows:

Margrit Shildrick, “On Longing for the Monstrous: Some Precautionary Observations”
with a response by Karin Sellberg
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, “Seeing the Unusual: Thoughts on the Ethics of Showing Disability”
with a response by Ally Crockford
Peter Hutchings, “Monstering the 1970s: Deviation, Mutilation and Negotiation in American Horror
with a response by Maja Milatovic
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, “Zombie Aesthetics”
with a response by Kamillea Aghtan

The updated schedule can be viewed here!
Those of you who are yet to register - follow this link for registration and arrival details!

Finally, it goes without saying that we are very excited for the upcoming events and are looking forward to welcoming all of you to Edinburgh - less than two months left!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Bodies in Movement Seminar Series

As we are eagerly anticipate our conference and your arrivals, we would like to bring your attention to the Bodies in Movement Seminar Series, a follow-up to last year's Bodies in Movement conference organized at the University of Edinburgh. The Bodies in Movement (BiM) organizers are pleased to announce a series of three half-day seminars, continuing the innovative theoretical frame of the conference which will be taking place during May, June and July 2012!
According to the BiM organizers, each of these seminars will "spotlight the work of an established scholar who will present material related to pre-selected pieces of their published writing. This will be followed by three 15 minute responses, after which the floor will be opened to more detailed discussion of the various issues raised with all participants. Participants are asked to prepare in advance for these seminars by reading key material chosen by our invited speakers."
The preliminary schedule includes:

24 May 2012:
Scott Wilson (Media and Communication, Kingston University) will discuss his work on schizophrenia, neoliberalism and cinema.

14 June 2012: Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Women's Studies, Emory University) will open a discussion on her current work in the field of disability studies and the humanities.

2 July 2012: Stuart Elden (Geography, Durham University) will tease out the intertwined geographical and material intricacies of Shakespeare's Coriolanus (and its recent 2011 cinematic counterpart starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler) with "Bellies, Wounds, Infections, Animals, Territories: The Political Bodies of Coriolanus".

As you can see from this engaging schedule, these seminar series are designed to delve into the "interstices of the humanities, materiality and the sciences, a rapidly expanding but also relatively recent field." The participatory nature of these seminars is aimed at developing new ideas which "address materiality in the intersection of the arts and the sciences, early-career academics and current students," so join the BiM series for an excellent discussion!
(Also - for those delegates arriving to the conference outside Edinburgh - you might have noticed that one of our keynote speakers - Rosemarie Garland Thomson - will be discussing her landmark work at the BiM seminar series so if you happen to be in Edinburgh the day before, this is the place to be!
For more information on the seminar series, a more detailed schedule, contacts as well as information on key texts, see the Bodies in Movement website.

Finally, attendance is free but places are limited, so if you are interested in participating, please e-mail the organizers below to book a place and receive more information!
Karin Sellberg ( Lena Wånggren ( Kamillea Aghtan (

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Rare, Beautiful, Disturbing

First: a reminder that there are only 10 days to register for the conference at the reduced rates. Advanced booking closes on 15 April, and we urge you to take advantage of this offer before it does: see the Fees and Information tab for details and links to the booking website.

Now, we'd like to thank one of our Twitter followers for the following link to Wired Science's sneak peek at the very recently released book Hidden Treasure. The book provides a brief glimpse into the unfathomable depths of the National Library of Medicine's extensive collection as part of the NLM's 175th anniversary celebrations. The Wired Science preview is comprised of images, film rolls, or texts which are distinguished by being rare, beautiful, and disturbing.

The cross-section is an intriguing one, and perhaps indicative of the close-knit relationship between the sensational, and the beautiful/disturbing. A mummified and mutilated hand from Eugène-Louis Doyen's Atlas of Topographic Anatomy (1911), its lines pronounced and severed, seems to be the visualised anticipation of some grotesque touch; the presence of a similarly disembodied hand clutching the shoulder of a bandaged patient in Joseph Jacob-Henri's sketch from Complete Study of the Human Anatomy (1831-54) perverts the reassurance of bodily contact.

The book itself, according to the publisher's description, is an exhibition of objects that 'glow with beauty, grotesquery, wit and/or calamitous tragedy'. Edited by Michael Sappol, the collection includes 'a series never before reproduced of hauntingly delicate paintings and illustrations of “monstra” collected in the early decades of the nineteenth century “from the museum of Dr. Klinkenberg” in the Netherlands; charming hand-painted glass “magic lantern slides,” which doctors projected in slideshows to entertain and help cure inmates at St. Elizabeths Hospital for the Insane; the mimeographed report of the Japanese medical team first to enter Hiroshima after the atomic blast'.

The illustrated "monstra" are exhibited alongside disturbing images of inhumanity, and the anatomical reality of our bodies themselves. The collection also includes x-rays from Adolph Hitler's medical records, illustrations of a man so often deemed monstrous that are unnervingly devoid of the bodily monstrosity depicted elsewhere in the collection. Each treasure is accompanied by a brief essay from distinguished scholars, artists, or physicians, including Lisa O'Sullivan, Mark S. Micale, Jeffrey S. Reznick, Benjamin Reiss, Shigehisa Kuriyama, Susan E. Lederer, and Rosamond Purcell, among many others.