Graduate Student Symposium
March 26, 2011
Barker Center for the Humanities, Harvard University
The history of the body has been a locus of prolific research in the
past several decades, engaging scholars from disciplines as diverse as
history of medicine, cultural history, literature, sociology, and
anthropology. The body’s experience of health and sickness, histories
of the senses, changing standards of civility, the body as political
instrument – these and other approaches have recovered the centrality
of the human subject in studies of the past and present. Yet current
scholarship on the body often relegates issues of space to the
background, treating it as a neutral setting against which bodies
interact. Conversely, treatments of the body and its history are scant
in disciplines focused on space and the built environment. In fields
like architectural history, geography, and urban studies, the presence
of the body is taken for granted and its history rarely emerges as a
critical contribution to the history of space.
This conference aims to question such a facile body-space relationship
by positing that the history of the body must also be a history of the
body in space, and that the history of spatial practices must involve
a history of the body. By bringing together scholars from a range of
disciplines, we hope to interrogate the material specificity of
architecture and the body through a range of questions linking the
-What role does the built environment play in our understandings of the body?
-How have past regulatory practices of the body influenced the design of spaces?
-How can we reclaim human agency while acknowledging the limits
imposed on the body by spatial constructs?
The Body in History / The Body in Space Graduate Student Symposium is
occurring in conjunction with Cambridge Talks V, an annual conference
dedicated to the exploration of interdisciplinary topics that engage
issues of space. We welcome paper proposals from graduate students in
various fields and disciplines. Proposals should include an abstract
(500 words) and a brief CV. Materials should be sent to
[email protected] by Monday November 22, 2010. Authors will be
notified of acceptance by December 15.
PhD Program in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
Harvard Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Email: [email protected]