Call for Papers: Anxious Forms 2018 (Deadline 1 May 2018)

Call for Papers: Anxious Forms 2018 (Deadline 1 May 2018)

Call for Papers: Anxious Forms 2018
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Bodily Fluids in the Long Nineteenth Century
Friday 27th July 2018, Aston University, Birmingham

Professor Talia Schaffer, CUNY
Dr Kate Lister, Leeds Trinity University

‘The power of blood is so difficult to decipher because it is at once the foundational social metaphor and the most basic necessity for life.’
(Priscilla Wald, foreword of The Cultural Politics of Blood, 1500-1900)

After the success of Anxious Forms: Bodies in Crisis (2014) and Anxious Forms: Masculinities in Crisis (2016), we are pleased to announce a third one-day conference which considers the construction of bodily fluids—both metaphorical and material, both abject and desirable—in the long nineteenth century. The period in question witnessed the first blood transfusion, the first English medical text on menstruation and menopause, anxieties around spermatorrhea and hysteria, the rise of vampire and werewolf fiction, and massive infrastructure reform around sewage and water to combat infectious diseases. This interdisciplinary event will explore the advancements, crises, contradictions, and understandings of bodily fluids in the long nineteenth century across a range of media, including fiction, poetry, drama, journalism, photography, visual arts, material culture, and medical and scientific texts. The event will also explore the challenges of critical discussions of topics traditionally considered taboo or hampered by the dynamics of disgust. Topics may include but are not limited to:

❖ Blood
Bloodlines, lineage, and primogeniture
Diseases and treatments
Wounds and trauma
Blood as metaphor
Vampirism, and lycanthropy
Puberty, menstruation, and menopause

❖ Sweat
Work and exertion
Sports and Christian masculinity
Fever and illness

❖ Tears
Discourses of emotion

❖ Digestion
Bile and vomit
Sewage, wells, and communicable diseases

❖ The Eucharist and Transubstantiation

❖ Sexual Fluids

❖ The Humours

❖ Ectoplasm and the Supernatural

We welcome proposals for individual 20 minute papers or panels from PGRs and ECRs as well as more established academics. Please send 300-word abstracts with an academic CV and a 50-word biography to Abby Boucher and Daniel Jenkin-Smith at by 1st May. Successful applicants will be notified by 15th May.

We are able to award a number of postgraduate travel bursaries. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please include a 200-word explanation about how the conference relates to your research, along with a breakdown of your expenses.

Further information can be found at


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