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Modernist Physical Cultures

Physical culture, from the Lincoln Republic-era US to Weimar Germany, was a set of social and bodily practices that imagined an ideal community as an extension of a sound physical body. The rise of avant-garde aesthetics (as Maaike Bleeker observes in relation to dance) €œparalleled the emergence of a more general interest in physical culture.€ While promising, according to Mark Whalan, €œthat building the body built the man, physical culture also, as Tim Armstrong has suggested €œoften elided the question of the relation between external and internal disciplines, which is to say that physical culture often amounted to an ideological cover for masculinist, capitalist and imperialist forms of domination.

Like other elements of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century society, physical culture became fodder for modernist and avant-garde cultural production, and the divisions and contradictions that it contained were also taken up in the cultural production of the period. This panel asks how modernist cultural products reinterpret and respond to physical culture. Toward what political and aesthetic ends do modernists represent physical culture? How do modernists use physical culture to imagine new forms of belonging or critique extant structures of community? Possible topics for submission include but are not limited to:

-Sport and mass culture
-Physical fitness
-Gymnastics
-Dance
-Outdoorsmanship
-Fascist physical culture in Germany and beyond
-Soviet and left physical cultures
-Postcolonial physical cultures

Please submit a 250-word abstract and short bio to Harrington Weihl (hweihl@u.northwestern.edu) by 22 March, 2018.

Conference Location: Columbus, Ohio, US
Conference Starts: November 08, 2018
Conference Ends: November 11, 2018

CFP Submission Deadline: March 02, 2018

For more information, contact: Harrington Weihl

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