Embodied Objects: An Introduction / Karin Eli and Anna Lavis

How can objects evoke and challenge our understandings of what a body is and does? How we might we write or rewrite the body through focusing on a single object with which the body interacts?

These and related questions are at the heart of our new series, Embodied Objects, a collection of writings that traverse the academic and the artistic to explore the material entanglements that make our everyday.

Stemming from a writing workshop entitled ‘Materiality and the Body’, held on 12th June 2015 at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, this series critically approaches embodied experience through written engagement with objects we otherwise encounter tacitly. In so doing, it traces the outlines and shadows of bodies that are made absent or material through writing.

Focusing on a single object, from a piece of thread to a Roman statue, each contributor elucidates how objects ‘tell’ often-surprising tales about embodied being and offer a prism through which to unsettle familiar discourse on the body. Drawing on diverse literatures and underpinned by a renewed focus on materiality across the humanities and social sciences, the writings collected here thereby experiment with new ways in which to conceptualize and write embodiment and its materialities.

Our collection opens with Nicola Kay Gale’s ‘The Yoga Mat’, and Darryl Stellmach’s ‘MUAC: A Talisman’.

23 July 2015: The Embodied Objects series continues with Paola Esposito’s ‘Being with Thread’.

30 July 2015: Helen Slaney’s ‘Intactness, or: Crouching Venus’ joins the Embodied Objects series.

6 August 2015: Karin Eli’s ‘The Bead Necklace’.

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