The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp relief the fact of human embodiment. While many of us have underscored the ways bodies mediate human life for some time, those lessons have become especially concrete today. We keep our distance, for fear of contracting and spreading a deadly disease. Our presence with one another is increasingly two-dimensional, as we connect through Zoom and FaceTime. Most of us cannot touch our loved ones.
This shift has both highlighted and obscured the terminuses of embodiment: birth and death. Of course, we tremble as the death toll rises—over a quarter of a million people in the United States have died of COVID-19, as of the drafting of this call, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color represent a disproportionate number of those deaths. At the same time, many of these deaths have transpired in isolation. Funerals have been limited or postponed. Even births are not fully celebrated: family members are restricted from hospitals and catch glimpses of their newborn kin from the safety of the other side of windows.Amid this grievous time, we welcome scholarly reflection on human life at its limits. We are therefore sponsoring a call for papers for the Political Theology Network’s 2021 Winter Workshop Series on the theme of “The Politics of Death and Life.”
We invite interdisciplinary work on this topic, especially pertaining to:
- Bioethics and biopolitics
- The politics of reproduction
- Mourning and memory
- Medicine and health
- Racialized and/or gendered vulnerability
- Capitalism and precarity
Authors of accepted papers will be invited to present their work at a Workshop in January or February. In many cases, we may also solicit respondents to discuss the draft. A modest honorarium will be provided to presenters and respondents.
Authors should submit a 500 word abstract to Mary Nickel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kathy Chow (email@example.com) by November 23. Please put “PTN Workshop Series Proposal” in the subject line. We will make a decision on all proposals by November 30. We would like to receive the final draft of 7,000-10,000 words two weeks before the paper will be discussed.
We look forward to receiving proposals related to this pressing theme, and are eagerly looking forward to beginning another series of our workshop in January.