‘Fluid Physicalities’ speaker programme, 2016

birkbeck logowellcome image

Over the course of 2016 Fluid Physicalities will meet for speaker events.

We meet monthly at 6pm in the Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD. Nearest tubes: Euston, Euston Square, and Goodge Street. All are welcome. Fluid refreshments will be served.

We will be adding to our programme over the coming months: further details to follow. The draft programme for 2016 is as follows:

Friday 15 January: Isabel Davis on urine, with responses from Lisa Baraitser and Sophie Jones. The title of Dr Davis’ paper is ‘Waiting to wee: towards a history of pregnancy testing.’

Friday 19 February: Anthony Bale on blood with a response from David Feldman. The title of Prof. Bale’s paper is ‘Dracula’s blood.’

Friday 11 March: Vybarr Cregan-Reid on sweat, with responses from Lynda Nead and Fintan Walsh

Friday 29 April: Matthew Weait on ejaculate, with a response from Joanne Winning. The title of Prof. Weait’s paper is ‘Ejaculaw.’

Friday 13 May: Matthew Cheeseman on vomit. The title of Dr Cheeseman’s paper is ‘The sting of intoxication.’

Friday 17 June: Patricia MacCormack on mucous, with a response from Martin O’Brien. The title of Prof. MacCormack’s paper is ‘Mucosal Sexuality: Angels, Demons and Posthuman Queer.’

Friday 21 October: Eyal Rozmarin on tears with responses from Carolyn Burdett and Lynne Segal. The title of Dr Rozmarin’s paper is ‘Father’s Don’t Cry’.

Friday 18 November: Esther Leslie and Melanie Jackson on breastmilk. The title of this session is ‘Unreliable Matriarchs: Breastmilk and Giving Suck.’

Friday 2 December: this session has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances .

March 2017: Fluid Physicalities closing conference – details here

Introducing ‘Fluid Physicalities’

Blood; ejaculate; spit & phlegm; tears; mucus & pus; urine; diarrhoea; milk; vomit; sweat. Sometimes the body seems to be a leaky collection of liquids, a porous and productive entity, a body that repeatedly transgresses its own boundaries through seeping and oozing. Fluid Physicalities is a new seminar series, convened by Anthony Bale and Esther Leslie and hosted by Birkbeck College’s School of Arts. Over the course of 2016, we shall meet monthly, mixing lecture and panel models, with a wide range of speakers, local, national, international, and interdisciplinary (further details to follow). All events will showcase current research in our theme of Fluid Physicalities, developing the established and innovative work in Medical Humanities and the History of Medicine that is ongoing at Birkbeck.

Our project is interdisciplinary and, through its investigation of bodily fluids, it speaks to a broad conception of embodiment that lies at the interface of culture and medical knowledge. It mobilizes a variety of analytic modes from literature and humanities, hard and social sciences, art practice and other modes , in order to explore those fluids that are intimate to each of us, but sometimes alienated from us by emotions such as disgust or by cultural taboos.  It will work to make links to questions of health and well-being, disease and biomedical exploration across historical and contemporary settings. It will focus its explorations on human practices and thinking, but will, on occasion, as with breastmilk, draw on cross-species and animal practices. The scholars approached will be diverse in background, but each will be open to interdisciplinary study and they and their audiences will be encouraged to extend their conversations from fluid to fluid.

Click here to see our (draft) programme of seminars and lectures for 2016.

Click here for some links to other relevant materials about bodily fluids.

Fluid Physicalities is generously suppowellcome imagerted by Wellcome/Birkbeck ISSF Public Engagement Funding.

birkbeck logo