GEXcel news

Postcolonial bodies, Feminist Disidentifications and Decolonisations

In June 2013, the next GEXcel research will be starting, this time dealing with issues concerning postcolonial bodies, feminist disidentifications and decolonisations. In connection to the theme, the next international Somatechnics conference will be arranged, June 17 - 19, 2013.

GEXcel Research Theme: Postcolonial bodies, feminist disidentifications and decolonisatoins
This research strand will focus on the entanglement of corpomaterialities, affectivity  and intersectional power differentials, as well as explore strategies of resistance, in particular, the role of bodies, sexualities, vulnerabilities, pleasure, pain and passions in processes of decolonization and disidentification.  It is based on the assumption that intersecting processes of resistance to and decolonialization of hegemonic power relations cannot unfold without being nourished by strong bodily and affective sources.  It is taken as a point of departure that human and non-human bodies and environments are disciplined by capitalism, colonialism, technoscience, heteronormativity and other hegemonic power regimes to function in complicity and compliance with intersecting institutionalized norms (gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, dis/ability, geopolitical position, regimes of health/illness, etc). But it is also assumed that norms  and institutions do not only produce complicity and docility, but that they at the same time also  co-produce varying kinds of unease, pain, uncomfortability, vulnerability etc, which sometimes lead to political immobilization, but in other instances generate resistance, disidentification  and decolonializing movements of change. It is the aim of the research strand to explore such movements of change  and their somatechnics – to study the hegemonic technologies of power which are at play, as well as bodily resistances across borders of different intersecting  power differentials.

Conference: Missing Links: the Somatechnics of Decolonisation
The next international Somatechnics conference will be hosted by the research strand – June 17-19, 2013, under the title:
Missing Links: the Somatechnics of Decolonisation.

The idea of somatechnics, which has gained wide critical currency since it was first coined, reflects an understanding of corporeality, embodied subjectivity and sociality as always already produced by, and imbricated with, a wide range of contextual practices, technologies and techniques.

Keynote speakers include: Sara Ahmed, Susan Stryker, Alexa Wright, Jasbir Puar, Madina Tlostanova and Cathy Waldby
Roundtable speakers include: Katerina Kolarova, Ulrika Dahl, Monica Casper, Jenny Sundén

Victorian pseudo-anthropology’s fascination with ‘missing links’ derived from a racialist imaginary that equated darkness with primitivity and animality, and whiteness with superiority, and that conjoined the pursuit of Western scientific knowledge with practices of empire and colonization. In this conference we seek to decolonize and reclaim the concept of ‘missing links’ by investigating not only territories or the individual bodies supposedly found there, but  the ‘somatechnical’ linkages between them —those very practices of settlement, coercion, cultivation, exploitation, seduction, and domestication that transform individual corporealities into aggregate bodies politic. Think, for example, freak show displays, ethnographies and visual representations of the colonial other, prosthetic technologies to enhance the disabled body, gender reassignment strategies or zoos. It is a mode of analysis that can extend and deepen many contemporary interdisciplinary accounts of embodiment and biopolitical forms.

The decolonisation of bodies requires making critical connections across putatively different arenas of inquiry - such as postcolonial, indigenous, queer, trans, crip, feminist, critical race, animal, science and technology studies, to name but a few - in order to better conceptualize the intimate and diverse means through which colonization of all types is sustained and reproduced. It necessitates an analysis of the concrete, specific, and material means and processes through which bodies achieve their essentialized (yet historically contingent) forms as racialized, sexed, dis/abled or as natural inhabitants of a land—processes whose operations are masked by their traversal of macro- and micro- scales of organization and management. Equally the divisions of knowledge and affect within the dominant epistemological frame work to prevent us from grasping the extent of the relevant phenomena. Breaking down the segregation of thought within contemporary critical inquiry thus serves a vital political need and calls attention to perhaps unexpected sites of pragmatic decolonial actions, while simultaneously informing new visions of liveable and just social orders.

Call for Papers 
We invite papers from any relevant area of enquiry – history, philosophy, postcolonial theory, critical disability studies, feminism, queer theory and more – that engage with and unsettle the notion of missing links.  

Please send abstracts of 250 words by 22 March to the organisers Susan Stryker, Margrit Shildrick and Nina Lykke, c/o

Somatechnics panels: in addition to general abstract submission, the following specific panels are looking for participants, and more will be added as they are suggested (see developing website). Please send your abstract (by 22 March) to the panel co-ordinator if you are interested – your abstract will also be considered outside the panel if unsuccessful there.

Somatechnics of normalising and queering bodies in medical contexts (

Where be Dragons? Locating contemporary monsters (

Somatechnics of the Living: art, science, technology and the (non)human embodiment (

Monstrous Sexualities/ Monstrous Cinema (

Decolonising Roma people (

Prostheses and queer crip bodies (

Further suggestions for panels of 4 presentations are very welcome. Contact as soon as possible.

Registration fee: 1200 SEK [$190] full price (includes reception, 2 lunches, 1 years subscription to the journal Somatechnics);
700SEK [$110] student/unemployed discount (includes reception, 2 lunches, 1 years subscription to the journal Somatechnics).
We are also offering 20 free places to participants from low income countries. Please apply (with a few sentences) to

Conference dinner: 340SEK [$54] (includes 2 courses + coffee + complimentary wine)

Accommodation: Details follow on the conference website and will cover a range of price options

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