Philadelphia, March 16th – 19th

Nineteenth-century bodies were poked and prodded, characterized, caricatured, corseted and cossetted, disciplined, displayed, naturalized, normalized, medicalized, mapped and mechanized.

Sciences and pseudosciences brought the body under scrutiny to an unprecedented degree—phrenology, psychology, physiology, anatomy, paleontology, microbiology, germ theory, principles of population, zoology, and sexology, all contributing to the proliferation of bodily discourses. Improvements in medicine and sanitation coexisted with poor sewage, and the ever-present fear of disease, and bodies were variously protected and regulated through Factory Acts, Public Health Acts, and the Contagious Diseases Act. Hospitals, workhouses and freakshows corralled and categorized. Pre-raphaelite painters proferred strong and sexualized women, while overpopulated novels featured the blind and deaf, fragile children and disabled adults, and all worried whether such outward signs accurately attested to the content of a character. Meanwhile, changes wrought in understanding one kind of body reverberated through its analogs; the human body was taken as model for corporate bodies, the body politic, bodies of knowledge—and vice versa. And where there is a model, a norm, there is also that which defies and defines that norm. INCS 2017 will pay special attention to the problematic, marginalized and metaphoric—to odd bodies.


queer bodies
raced bodies
busy bodies
body markings
disabled bodies
bodies behaving badly
the body as spectacle
fragmented bodies
disciplined bodies
animal bodies
circus & freak show bodies
bodies at work or play
bodies in contact
unlikely friendships/romances
sexy bodies
naked bodies
diseased bodies
the anatomized body
dead bodies
body snatchers
spirit bodies
mythical bodies
angels, monsters, and ghosts
the gendered body
intellectual women
odd women, blue stockings, New Women
the body of the insane, the eccentric
characters & caricatures
ugly bodies
corporate bodies
bodies of knowledge
bodies of evidence
bodies of work
colonial bodies
traveling bodies
and the body politic…

Deadline: November 1, 2016. Upload proposals via the conference website coming soon. For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Please include a one-page CV with your name, affiliation, and email address. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome.

Questions? Contact Barri Gold at