We are seeking submissions for our accepted panel, entitled "Viscerality in the 20th Century," at the Notheastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Conference to be held on March 21-24th, 2019 in Washington D.C.
This panel seeks to investigate viscerality in its many guises: as a language, sensation, image, affect, style, and methodology. Viscerality has seeped into critical discourses of the twentieth century, traversing disciplines, and getting under our skins; yet, it has widely evaded our attention precisely because of its abject and impressionistic “minorness.” Foucault, in explicating methods of bodily regulation and segmentation, implicitly theorizes the relation of modern bureaucratization to sensory repression. Bakhtin’s articulations of the grotesque body and Batailles’s formulation of pleasure as an “appalling surpassing of limits” invoke a consideration of excess and decadence, of their connection to the literary as both form and aesthetic. How can viscerality help the body occupy, break down, or exceed spaces and practices of regulation? Broadening the ways we read for orality and consumption in modernist writing, viscerality allows us to tend to the mouth as an aperture that is perceptive of and receptive to foods and appetites. Beyond what are thought of as recognized bodily orifices, figurations of open wounds since the beginning of the century, from Freud to Barthes, posit viscerality as a foundational engagement of the time period. What are the differences between graphic images and visceral reading/writing practices? What are the formal and aesthetic structures of viscerality? Furthermore, considering that even some of the most compelling accounts of unbounded intensities--“The Body Without Organs,” for example--have been criticized as depoliticized readings of the body, how may we read viscerality attending to the embodied specificities of sexuality, race, gender, and class? What would it mean to read the concept as an alternative system of knowledge production, as a (dis)organizing principle of the twentieth century, and what may be our critical investments in doing so?
All approaches and methodologies are welcome. Please submit your 300-word abstract directly through the NeMLA website by September 30th: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/17236
If you have any questions, please feel free to email the panel chairs, Julia Cheng (email@example.com) and/or Mercedes Trigos (firstname.lastname@example.org)