Friday, 2 December 2011

CFP: Bodies of Law / Law and the Body

Readers of this blog may be interested in the following Call for Papers, organised by the excellent Katie Cruz at Nottingham:

Bodies of Law / Law and the Body

An interdisciplinary conference for postgraduate and early-career academics in the area of law, gender and sexuality (see the PECANS network).

Friday 30 March 2012 School of Law, University of Westminster, London


This one-day conference seeks to bring together postgraduate and early-career scholars from across the UK and beyond to explore the general theme of ‘law and the body’. This event will investigate the different dimensions of how the ‘body’ as a governed entity is represented, regulated, and normalised within the legal order, while encouraging debate about law’s relationship to wider social structures and knowledges. Law mediates various power structures and is interwoven with numerous other knowledges that participate in the construction, normalization and regulation of bodies, such as medicine, social media, religion and the nation-state. Numerous feminist legal scholars have commented on law’s intimate relationship to, for example, medical discourses, arguing that the shape of legal power has changed to more regulatory and disciplinary forms. Inevitably law’s relationship to bodies/states of embodiment alters as it takes on these increasingly pervasive roles. One might conclude that the notion of a space where the law will not intervene is a liberal fantasy, out of step with the reality of law’s operations. How, then, should law be evaluated and/or harnessed?

Within this context, some of the questions we hope to address are: Does law privilege certain bodies/states of embodiment? If so, what are some of the ways that these privileged bodies can be detected in law and resisted? Should legal scholars continue to appeal to (or return to) fixed understandings of bodies, such as the ‘female’ body? How do bio-technologies affect and transform the relationship between body and law, especially within the processes of neoliberal governance and consumerism? In what ways are marginalised groups affected by the interaction of law and body within the discourses of (in)equality and difference? What has the advent of post-human and object-oriented thought meant for feminist conceptions of ‘the body’? Can we conceive of law without ‘the body’?

We invite papers addressing these and other related questions for inclusion in the conference program. Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to Katie Cruz at by Friday 6 January 2012. Successful participants will be notified no later than mid-February.

We regret that we cannot guarantee participants funding for travel however there may be some small subsidies available. We will advertise any opportunities as they arise. Finally, papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in a special issue of feminists@law, a peer-reviewed, online, open access journal of feminist legal scholarship. For more information about the journal, please visit

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