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27th April, 2023

Visceral Bodies: A TECHNE PhDs’ Symposium on Sexuality, Motherhood and Social Reproduction


Event Details

27th April, 2023
End Date:
28th April, 2023
Clattern Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE

A Transdisciplinary Symposium on Representing the Visceral Body in Theory and Creative Practice 

It is often assumed that questions regarding the bodily dimension of human life have primarily to do with biological or medical inquiries and are not central to the humanities. In the past, this excluded topics such as motherhood, sexuality and reproduction from the philosophical and political landscape. Recent feminist, post-colonial, and critical theories have offered perspectives that deconstruct artificial notions of subjectivity and thematize corporeality in relation to questions of normativity, identity and political visibility.  

This two-day, transdisciplinary symposium will explore how renewed attention to the human (and specifically female) body in philosophy, politics, literature and psychosocial studies has paved the way for a rethinking of motherhood, reproductive loss, disability and death beyond biological categories. How does this reflection contribute to naming, elaborating, and making visible concrete aspects of human life in their connection to gender, race, sexuality? 

The event will present creative writing, poetic works, lectures and performances that illustrate, inform or question how we represent the visceral body within text and in philosophical and political inquiries when we attempt to give voice to experiences and events that are, by their nature (within cultural frameworks) graphic, shocking, bloody, illicit… 

We ask: How do we navigate the ‘horror’ or embarrassment of these subjects through writing and theoretical reflection? How do we share real and even brutal experiences without them becoming sensational or shocking in a way that negates their complexity? What kind of literary forms, what kinds of language, do we turn to in our attempts? This is not about how we make these experiences palatable, but, rather, how we battle to make them communicable in a way that does not underestimate the experience and allows us to see it from multiple perspectives. 

These questions will be addressed through a combination of presentations and performances by PhD students, academics, writers and dancers.

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