CFS: Embodiment (a/b: Auto/Biography Studies)

a/b: Auto/Biography Studies <>seeks
original articles for a special issue on “Embodiment” to be published as
volume 33.2. Embodied lives, in all their corporeal, social, sensory,
affective, political, economic, and technological dimensions, are the
primary grounds for auto/biographical production. Building on the
groundbreaking feminist work of the 1980s and 90s that brought embodied
subjectivity to the fore, research in the field of life writing
continues to generate powerful insights into the constitution,
inscription, chronicling, narrativization, and performance of multiple
embodiments, including an expansive and nuanced engagement with illness,
disability, gender, grief, and trauma. Open to a wide variety of
critical work on embodiment and auto/biography from a range of
humanities and social science inter/disciplines, this special issue
highlights two emergent areas demanding attention: 1) the biopolitics
and necropolitics of race and disability, considered dialectically
together with resistant acts, practices, and movements; and 2) the
intensified, shifting relationships among auto/biography, embodiment,
and mediation in the era of digital communication. Accordingly, essays
could consider:

* Why and how have certain auto/biographical modes that pertain to or
index embodiment emerged as especially pervasive and popular at the
beginning of the twenty-first century? What are the genealogies of
these evolving forms, and what are their innovations, affordances,
and dilemmas? Examples might include: medical micronarratives;
photojournalism; profiles; ecological memoirs; graphic non-fiction;
wearable technology; data tracking and the “quantified self”; social
media; selfies and self-portraiture; collective biography;
performance and/or installation art; digital design and play.
* How does auto/biographical cultural production critique the ways
that bodies are inscribed, produced, circulated, de/valued,
targeted, exploited, and/or exalted under capitalist and
settler-colonialist structures? Under what conditions do bodies come
to testify or to stand in opposition to occupation, war,
displacement, austerity, eugenics, hunger, thirst, pain,
incarceration, and/or surveillance? What are the material,
infrastructural, generic, and discursive conditions of, and
obstacles to, such testimony? In what ways might auto/biography
challenge presumptions of limitation or damage regarding particular
subjects and/or communities?
* How and why are auto/biographical modes deployed to think through
“transmission” and “intercorporeality,” including, for instance,
relations of toxicity, injury, contagion, communicability,
inheritance, and/or futurity?
* What kinds of embodied relationalities, or kinships, are being
imagined and mobilized in auto/biographical projects, and according
to what impetuses?
* What is the role of the “lived” everyday—the mundane, the chronic,
the atmospheric, the textured, the interior, and/or the surface—in
life narratives, images, practices, and/or archives of embodiment?
* Why and how might auto/biography scholarship engage,
recontextualize, and/or revise influential theoretical concepts of
“the body,” i.e. from phenomenology, assemblage theory, feminist
intersectionality, new materialism, affect studies, visual culture
studies, digital studies, post-structuralism, posthumanism,
biopolitics, and/or trauma theory?
* What critical framings, methods, and pedagogies are necessitated by
bodies on the move, by bodies in conflict zones and under
occupation, by bodies crossing or inhabiting borders, or by bodies
in revolt or refusal?
* What is the salience of theorizing embodied narratives and
self-inscriptions in terms of im/material labour or precarious labour?
* If embodiment is constituted (perhaps now more than ever) through
mediation and remediation, then what critical methods and questions
do repeated, iconic embodied images, tropes, and narratives require?
* What is the relationship between narratives, images, practices,
and/or archives of embodiment, on the one hand, and acts of
citizenship on the other? How and when might embodied auto/biography
mobilize (new) repertoires, ensembles, or collectivities?

This special issue is imagined as an opportunity to bring auto/biography
studies into generative dialogue with critical interdisciplinary fields
that are asking urgent methodological, historical, material, and
philosophical questions about embodied lives, including but not
necessarily limited to: migration, citizenship, social justice, Black
studies, Indigenous studies, Asian and Asian diaspora studies, mixed
race studies, disability studies, crip/queer studies, mad studies, trans
studies, women’s and gender studies, fat studies, sexuality studies,
child and youth studies, aging, ecocriticism, animal studies, and
narrative medicine.

Send original articles of 6,000-8,000 words (including works cited and
notes) to Sarah Brophy ( on or before December 15, 2016. Inquiries
also welcome.

Biographical Note: Sarah Brophy is Professor in the Department of
English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. She is the author
of Witnessing AIDS: Writing, Testimony, and the Work of Mourning
(University of Toronto Press, 2004) and coeditor with Janice Hladki of
Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography (University of Toronto
Press, 2014).

All essays must follow the format of the MLA Handbook for Writers of
Research Papers (7th ed.) and the a/b Style Sheet, which can be found

Essays submitted for the special issue, but not selected, may be
considered general submissions and may be selected for publication.
Authors are also requested to include a fifty-word abstract and two to
four keywords with their submissions. In order to ensure a confidential
peer review, remove any identifying information, including citations
that refer to you as the author in the first person. Cite previous
publications, etc. with your last name to preserve your anonymity in the
reading process. Include your name, address, email, the title of your
essay, and your affiliation in a cover letter or cover sheet for your
essay. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary
copyright permissions and essays may not progress into the publication
stage without written proof of right to reprint. Images with captions
must be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tiff files.