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.

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