Public lecture: Dancing, Bombing, & Outsourcing Corporeality: Can We Love the Posthuman Body?"

24 Jun 2019 at 5:00pm

Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre and The Centre For 21st Century Humanities are hosting a public lecture by visiting international scholar Dr Devaleena Das from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Her talk ‘Dancing, bombing and outsourcing corporeality: can we love the posthuman body?’ will be held in Room X703 at New Space, Hunter Street Newcastle, on Monday 24th June at 5-7pm and everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

Scholars, artists, students and faculty from humanities, arts, social science, medical science and health, who focus on research that involves human bodies would particularly benefit from attending this talk.

Professor Victoria Haskins said Dr Das’s work complements the gender research being undertaken at the University of Newcastle.

“Devaleena Das is doing some of the most exciting research on the effects of rising intolerance and changing technologies on contemporary gender relations and the body, on the international scene today. Having her here with us as a Visiting Fellow is a great opportunity to connect with our transnational researchers working across a wide range of disciplines on these topics,” Professor Haskins said.

Dr Das says the discussion related to corporeality will be transdisciplinary.

“Some of the key take aways from this talk include critical reflections on bodily boundaries, corporeal ethics between the self and the institutionalisation of bodies and body parts, politics of bodily resistance and resilience across culture, embodiment as socio-political practice, and bodily narratives and stories of fragmented/distorted/rejected/ abject body parts that have survived social stigma through an emergent body positivity focused on love and self-care,” Dr Das said.

Dr Das argues that in today's world, the root of sexism, racism, homophobia, religious intolerance, ableism, ageism and various other forms of violence lies in the forceful denial or attempt to erase the bodily existence of the "other".

“Bodies are not only categorised, but also positioned, prioritised, and celebrated in a hierarchical ladder of superior/inferior or acceptable/unacceptable scale. Even in medical science, a normative model of anatomy study by default is a white male cisgender body. In the age of artificial intelligence, cyborgs, In Vitro fertilization, organ harvesting in clinical labs and weaponisation of the body in terrorism, we see that the body withholds multiple potentialities that contribute to our intellectual living and hence it is not static; it responds to the world around us,” she said.

“However, in the midst of all these bodily experiments, transformation, violence and hatred, the first and foremost thing that we often forget is that every body deserves respect, and for that we need to create consciousness raising that that corporeal is cerebral, material, ontological, intellectual, and invokes affects.”

In her presentation extracted from her current book project entitled Stripping the Anatomical Parts: A Transnational Approach to Theorizing Body Fragments and Embodied Subjects, Dr Das addresses these questions by proposing a new interdisciplinary corporeal theory that aims towards respecting and appreciating the resilience of diverse bodies.

“There is a need to theorise how we could move towards an inclusive space that ruptures the normative and privileged corporeal structure and includes the torn and assaulted bodies of war, the lynched bodies of slavery, hatred and racism, the rejected non-normative bodies, the cybernetic bodies, the disabled bodies, the transplanted bodies, the menstrual and menopausal bodies, the infertile bodies, the broken bodies in pain and suffering from illness and those bodies that are stigmatized as aged, fat and ugly,” Dr Das said.

Dr Das is an Assistant Professor in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and her research explores how and why we need to move beyond corporeal paradigms of fragmentation versus wholeness; biology versus technology; and individual versus collective cultural identity of the body.

Central to her work is how to liberate corporeality from the asymmetric political and intellectual constraints of corporeal theory in Eurocentric feminist and queer studies. Writing across interdisciplinary fields, her scholarship spans several geographical and cultural boundaries.

  • Room X703 at New Space, Hunter St, Newcastle

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.