TaPRA 2020, 2 – 4 September, Liverpool Hope University, Bodies and Performance Working Group CfP: Bodies in Motion: Margins, Intersections, and Vulnerability

Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020

Leticia Sabsay argues that usual meanings of the term vulnerability imply ‘the idea of unwanted permeability,’ where the permeable entity is rendered weak or exposed to injury. These meanings suggest a particular dialectic of movement, an invasive motion and an unwanted motion against a permeable entity. There is the possibility to rethink vulnerability. To paraphrase Sabsay, permeable bodies (as/of individual, collective, regulatory, matter, environments) need not be understood as passive, inactive, or victims of unwanted motion. Rather, vulnerable bodies are actively exposed – their fluidity, mobility and hybridity foregrounded.
Mobility and flexibility are typically framed as positives encounters with the world and modes of being that have potential to resist and find resistance within oppressive regimes. However, as Dwight Conquergood warns: ‘dominant powers deploy the imagery of flux and motion to stigmatize subordinate groups, e.g., “transients,” “floaters,” an “influx” of poor people, “transitional” neighborhoods, demographic “turnover,” etc.’ (Conquergood 1992b). Here flux and flexibility cast fear and uncertainty against communities that do not adhere to common perceptions of existing or belonging within normative structures. It is here for Sabsay that language is often weaponised, with the term vulnerability being used to reinforce practices and ideologies of oppression and exclusion.
Speed and intensity also affect mobility and fluidity. As Barbara Bolt observes, ‘[f]or Heidegger, the drama of human existence is orientated around the possibilities that being-in-the-world throws up. […] From the moment of our birth […] we are thrown involuntarily towards our future’ (2011, pp. 19-20). What then might it mean to embrace the vulnerability of throwness – of bodies in motion throughout the world? What are the spatio-temporalities of how entities engage with the world (what Heidegger would refer to as Dasein Being)? How might borders, margins, and intersections be reconfigured and reframed? If we rethink vulnerability as a challenge to dominant modes of knowledge, there is the possibility to reframe motion, to queer the quotidian, and subvert orientation. If for Sara Ahmed ‘[b]odies take shape as they move through the world’ (2006), how might a queer phenomenology disorientate, disrupt, and reorder relations and modes of knowing?
This call for papers invites responses (in the form of traditional papers, workshops, performative practices) that consider a critical reframing of the implication and involvement of bodies in relation to motionality, fluidity, vulnerability, marginality, and intersectionality.
Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
– Precarity in relation to bodies and bonds, and the precariousness of bodies at work or in the workplace
– Wounded and wounding bodies
– (Re)positioning displaced bodies: the local and the global
– Bodies in flux: Borders, transist, inclusions, exclusions and the space in between
– (Cyber)boundaries, (digital) communities, and the reconfiguration of identities
– Caravans: what Conquergood terms as ‘a heterogenous ensemble of ideas and methods on the move’
– Queer motion, kinesis and orientation
– Carnivals and communities
– Movement as resistance; movement in resistance; movement as opposition
– Disorder, pollution, contamination, contagion and chaos
– Being as a process and being as an entity
– Speed and technology. Cyber and posthuman motions of change
– Bodies in danger, permeability and precarity
Ahmed, Sara. (2006) Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham: Duke University Press.
Bolt, Barbara. (2011) Heidegger Reframed. London: I. B. Tauris & Co.
Butler, Judith. (2004) Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso Books.
Conquergood, Dwight. (1995) Caravans – ‘Of Caravans and Carnivals: Performance Studies in Motion’ TDR, 39, 4, 137-141.
Sabsay, Leticia. (2016) ‘Permeable bodies: vulnerability, affective powers, hegemony’, in Butler, Judith., Gambetti, Zeynep., and Sabsay, Leticia. (2016) (eds.) Vulnerability in resistance. Durham: Duke University Press. Pp. 278-302.
Coronavirus Disclaimer
Whilst we are continuing to make plans for the Annual TaPRA Conference to go ahead as scheduled at LHU in September, we are also working on contingency arrangements should government advice restrict large gatherings. We will keep all members informed of any changes.
Process for submitting a proposal
Please send a 300 word (max) proposal and short biography to the Working Group Convenors at bodiesandperf@tapra.org by 23.59 on 17 April 2020.
Originally proposals were due by 9th April, however due to the recent UCU strike action and the rapidly evolving situation regarding Covid-19 we are extending the proposal submission deadline until Friday 17th April.
Please include an optional 2nd choice of Working Group (this can also include the TaPRA Gallery, where appropriate). If we are unable to accept your proposal, we will then pass it on to your 2nd choice for consideration. Your proposal will not be less likely to be accepted by our Working Group if you indicate a 2nd choice.
Please note: You may only submit a proposal to one working group (or else the PaR Gallery) for this conference, proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Working Group Convenors will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible, and will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. If we have passed your proposal on to your 2nd choice of Working Group, we will let you know this as well. Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, and therefore your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by 18 May 2020.
Conference Costs
The early bird registration fee for this year’s conference will be £215 (standard) and £112 (concession), including TaPRA membership for the year, rising to £245 (standard) and £142 (concession) after 19th June.
It will also be possible to register for a ‘half conference’ – that is, Day 1 to after lunch Day 2; OR all of Day 2; OR from 4pm on Day 2 & all of Day 3. ‘Half conference’ fees are: £125 (standard) and £65 (concession), rising to £140 (standard) and £79 (concession) after 19th June.
All of the above conference fees include TaPRA membership for one year (starting on 2 September 2020).
On-campus conference accommodation will cost no more than £50 per night. The conference dinner will cost £40 (£35 for concession delegates booking in the early bird period).
Please note: All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.
Concession definition: Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than .6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.
There will be up to 5 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and up to 3 available for unaffiliated presenters/contingent faculty. These are highly competitive and so we would encourage everyone who is able to secure institutional support where possible.
Each bursary includes: Conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership; up to £300 toward travel, accommodation, childcare or access costs (the TaPRA Administrator will book accommodation; travel fees or access costs can be reclaimed quickly on production of receipts).
You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (as a separate document). Please note that PG students will require a supporting statement from their supervisor or programme leader, which may take extra time to source. Full details, criteria, and application forms are available on the TaPRA website (http://tapra.org/bursaries/).

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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