Conference: The History of the Body at the IHR

After the excellent Biological Discourses conference at Cambridge, I am now looking forward to The History of the Body symposium at the IHR.

I’ll be speaking on ‘Suicidal Scarring: Discourse and Experience in Magnus Hirschfeld’s Body of Work’. In this paper, I will examine what Magnus Hirschfeld’s work can tell us about  the complex role played by the body in the modern history of homosexuality. Specially, I will focus on his remarks about the ‘Suizidialnarben’ – or scars left by suicide attempts – which he encountered on the bodies of some of his patients. By exploring how the scarred bodies of these suicidal women and men shaped Hirschfeld’s work, the paper will address broader questions about the relationship between discourse and experience in the history of the body, and what a focus on the body might add to those examinations of the past that focus more specifically on sexuality.

The full programme is included below..

The History of the Body: Approaches and Directions

Institute of Historical Research, London: May 16th 2015

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Registration 10 – 10:30am

Parallel Sessions 10:30 – 12:00pm

1A: Material Cultures (Chair: Will Pooley) Wolfson Seminar Room

Alun Withey, ‘Technologies of the Body in Eighteenth-Century Britain’

Robin Macdonald‘When ‘Discourse’ Meets ‘Experience’: Letters and Letter-bearers in the Writings of Seventeenth-century Missionaries in New France’

Lauren Fried, ‘Histories of Trans Bodies: A Museological Approach’

1B: Interpreting Bodies (Chair: Kevin Lewis) Room 304

Clare Tebbutt, ‘Of Oysters, Fowl and Free-martins: The Animal of Human Sex-changeability’

Caroline Nielsen, ‘Fraudulent Bodies: The Creation of the Discourse around Malingering and Illness Deception by Military Authorities, c.1780-1840’

Laura Guinot Ferri, ‘Women Saints and their Bodies: the Case of the Spanish Nun Inés de Benigànim (1625-1696)’

Lunch 12:00 – 13:00

Parallel Sessions 13:00 – 14:30

2A: Technologies (Chair: Jennifer Keating) Wolfson Seminar Room

Dora Vargha,’Disability History and the Boundaries of Body and Machine: the Iron Lung Patient as a “New Life-form”’

Will Pooley, ‘The Shadow Cultures: Popular Receptions of Medicine in France c.1790-1939’

Beatriz Pichel, ‘Photographing the Emotional Body in the Late Nineteenth Century’

2B: Masculinity and Martial Bodies (Chair: Erica Wald) Room 304

Hilary Buxton, ‘Intersectionality and the Global Soldier Body in the Great War’

Jessica Meyer, ‘Carrying, Cleaning and Caring: British Male Military Caregivers and the Body in the First World War’

Kate Imy, ‘Rebels of Ramzan: Indian Muslims, Food, and Fasting in the First World War’

Refreshments 14:30 – 15:00

Parallel Sessions 15:00 – 16:30

3A: Violence and Injury (Chair: Kate Imy) Wolfson Seminar Room

Giusi Russo, ‘Colonial Bodies in Pain: Emotions, Self-Rule, and Pathologies at the UN’

Heike Bauer, ‘Suicidal Scarring: Discourse, Experience and Magnus Hirschfeld’s Body of Work’. Click here for my paper abstract.

Luc Racaut, ‘The World Inside Out: Bodies and Emotions During the French Wars of Religion’

3B: Bodily Practices (Chair: Caroline Nielsen) Room 304

Kat Mutlow, ‘Peterloo: The Body and Radical Discourse’

Kevin Lewis, ‘Defining/Defiling the Medieval Abrahamic Body: Body Modification, Male Circumcision and the Problem of “Sacred Inviolability” between Christians, Jews and Muslims’

Cécile Feza Bushidi and Tom Cunningham, ‘Missionary Interventions Into Gikuyu Body Cultures, c1906-1938’

Refreshments 16:30-17:00

Plenary Talk 17:00-18:30 – Bedford Room, Senate House.

Fay Bound Alberti, ‘Hearts and Minds go Head to Head: The Body and the Self in History’

Register at:

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