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The Transforming Body in popular culture
 
University of Southampton, UK, 2007

There has recently been an intensification of interest in the changing body in popular culture, from films and writing focusing on the makeover phenomenon or gender reassignment, to reality TV programmes detailing surgical alteration, to health-, celebrity- and horror-focused narratives presenting transformation sentimentally or monstrously. These contemporary perspectives are embedded in a longer history of transformation stories in classical/post-classical cinema, literature, photography, art and performance. 
 
In 2007 Southampton University will be hosting a series of seminars considering the unique position of the transforming body within popular culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This series will provide a forum at which these sensational spectacles and cultural artefacts can be addressed in the context of a reassessment of established theories of the body, providing new ways of framing and understanding body culture. Possible areas of interest might include:
·        Make-over narratives and ‘cinderella stories’
·        Gender and transgender
·        The transforming celebrity body
·        Medical/surgical narratives
·        The hybrid or obscene body
·        Body art, performance art and fetish culture
·        Monstrosity, plasticity and body horror 
·        The body as sick/damaged or whole/perfected
 
We are open to proposals focusing on any revealing or provocative cultural phenomena and texts, from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines. Please email abstracts of 250 words to [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask] by 23th February 2007. If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to present a paper of 30 minutes at Southampton University, UK, at one of our four themed seminars. These are scheduled for April 25th, May 30th, and in October and December (dates tbc). Travel expenses will be paid for speakers, though we cannot cover overnight accommodation or a fee. We expect to secure a publisher for an edited collection of selected papers from the series.
 
Travel bursaries for attendees: A limited number of small travel bursaries will be available per event to help towards the cost of attending for those not giving papers. Please contact the organisers at the email address below if you are interested in this. We will require a 150 word statement outlining your research interests and indicating how participation at the event will enhance your research. 
 
Professor Linda Ruth Williams ([log in to unmask])  & Peri Bradley ([log in to unmask])
School of Humanities, University of Southampton, UK
http://www.english.soton.ac.uk/transformingbody.htm 
 

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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
http://www.ScreenSite.org