‘The Ideal Body’: Perceptions of Perfection from Early Modernity to the Present

Call for Papers

This virtual conference, held from Thursday 30th – Friday 31st July 2020, will bring together academics and professionals working within interdisciplinary fields including history, sociology, medicine and theology. We aim to draw from research being undertaken concerning the body, medicine, nutrition and disability, and to reflect on past and present understandings of health and bodily perfection. Our ultimate aim is to enlighten our understanding of current ideals of the ‘perfect’ body by fostering a working dialogue between a range of academic disciplines. The conference will feature keynotes from Dr Anna Lavis and Dr Carolyn Day.

We are seeking 20-minute papers from students and scholars of any discipline. Themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Ageing, labour and dependence– the ‘ideal labouring body’, notions of burden and responsibility, intersections of care-giving; 
  • Food, hunger and the emotions– e.g. ‘hunger’ as a biological and cultural category; social attitudes towards ‘clean’ foods; fasting and feasting in religion and culture; visual representations feasting and fasting;
  • Health promotion and preservation– ideals of youthfulness, preventative medicine, fitness and sport;
  • Disability, deviant and disobedient bodies– social constructions of disability and  ‘defect’; ideas of bodily modification; chronic illness, pain and disease; 
  • Ideal versus actual bodies– ideas of body dysmorphia and dissociation, eating disorders; gender confirmation and identity.

Please send a 250-word abstract to cambodyfood@gmail.com by Monday 15th June 2020.

You can register for the conference here.