Fall 2017 International Conference
"Bodies in the Streets: Somaesthetics of City Life"
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 2-day conference, January 26–27, 2017, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Cities are defined by their complex network of busy streets and the diverse multitudes of busy people that populate and animate those streets through their physical presence and bodily actions. The human bodies and movements we find in the streets often differ dramatically – the elegant flâneur or strolling window-shopper versus the homeless beggars who make the pavement their bed, the crowds who fill the streets in protest and the patrolling law-enforcement officers who police them. If cities are shaped by human bodies, then those bodies are reciprocally shaped by the spaces, rhythms, and logics of city life. What are the somaesthetic qualities of urban living, its affordances, and challenges (from better cultural and medical services to the cramped quarters and polluted air that many city dwellers must endure)? What are the somatic images of urban life? What paths or models of somaesthetic thinking can help us bring the rich diversity of city life into a more rewarding harmony that remains dynamically progressive? This conference will address these questions from the perspectives of the visual arts, literature, urbanism, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, and the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics.
Selected papers may be developed for publication in The Journal of Somaesthetics (https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/JOS) or in an edited book based on the conference papers.
The conference program is now available. To view, click here.
A comprehensive list of our 2017 conference presenters and abstracts may be viewed by following this link.
You may read the press release by following this link.
“Bodies of Virtue: Asian Perspectives on Ethics and Somaesthetics”
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 2-day conference on November 8-9, 2017 at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Bodies are the primary platform where self-cultivation techniques develop in Asian cultures. Although proponents of somatic self-cultivation present body disciplines as fundamental instruments for liberation, others sought to twist bodies into tools for oppression and control. Not only considered as a tool for self-improvement in the path to ethical and spiritual progress, the body was contrastingly regarded as an abiding threat to morality and spirituality. How are we to understand and navigate these paradoxes? How are these different views represented not only in religious and philosophical texts but also in art and literature? Asian perspectives on embodiment, together with Asian somatic disciplines, are increasingly pervasive in Western culture. How does this transcultural travel take place? In what ways are the original ideas distorted, misunderstood, or enriched by their importation into new contexts? How do contemporary Asian cultures regard their own traditions and reconcile them with those of Western modernity? How do gender and sexuality studies provide new ways to understand how the microcosm of the body interfaces with the larger structures of religion, politics, and culture? The conference “Bodies of Virtue: Asian Perspectives on Ethics and Somaesthetics” will address these questions from the diverse disciplinary perspectives of religion, philosophy, history, the visual arts, literature, cultural and gender studies, and the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics.
Selected papers may be developed for publication in The Journal of Somaesthetics (https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/JOS) or in an edited book based in part on the conference papers and published in the series Studies in Somaesthetics (http://www.brill.com/studies-somaesthetics).
The conference program is now available. To view, please click here.
A comprehensive list of our 2017 conference presenters and abstracts may be viewed by following this link.
You may read the official press release by following this link.
There is no conference registration fee, however, advanced registration is advised. To register or for more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information regarding hotel accommodations, directions to the FAU campus, and other information, please click here for more information.
Any other conference inquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
2016 International Conference
Bodies of Care: Somaesthetics of Vulnerability
The Center for Body, Mind and Culture hosted a 2-Day conference on January 28-29, 2016 at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Bodies are obviously the targets of one's daily care in terms of personal hygiene, grooming, exercise, and proper nourishment. They are also objects of care in the sense of worry or concern, since we all suffer illness and death through the bodies. However, the sentient, purposive, active body or soma is also a subjectivity that examines and cares for the body as object, whether it be one's own body or the bodies of others who one wants to help or comfort. We all need such curative help or comfort at some point in our lives; and some people devote their professional and personal lives to giving such care. Bodies need and give care in many ways and for many reasons: to overcome illness and disability, to address and alleviate dependence, to learn new skills and remedy bad habits, to inspire greater confidence for personal flourishing and greater social betterment. This conference will examine the wide range of somatic conditions that require care and the variety of somatic methods of providing such care, while exploring how these conditions and methods are represented in cultural theory, health and wellness studies, literature, and the arts.
Selected papers may be developed for publication in The Journal of Somaesthetics (http://journals.aau.dk/index.php/JOS) or in an edited book based on the conference papers.
The conference will take place at the Dorothy F. Schmidt Arts & Humanities building room 205.
Click here to view the program.
Click here to view the press release.
2015 International Conference
Bodies of Belief: Somaesthetics of Faith and Protest
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 2-day conference, January 29–30, 2015, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Human bodies are shaped not only by their genetic endowment but also by the belief systems of the cultures in which they develop and function. Such belief systems vary from unarticulated background assumptions to ritualized practices and explicit doctrines or even to formulated laws enacted and enforced by social institutions. The beliefs that the human soma embodies and expresses are not confined to established social norms; they also include items of faith and commitment that are individualistic, nonconformist, or even antagonistic to the cultural mainstream. More than a mere instrument of compliance or worship, the soma is also a site and weapon of protest.
The conference explored the ways through which beliefs and their corresponding values are embodied and somatically contested in such cultural fields as religion, politics, ethics, and the arts. How are beliefs acted upon or counter-acted by bodies in these fields? How do artistic or literary representations reflect on such bodily actions or themselves participate in these actions? Selected papers will be developed for publication in The Journal of Somaesthetics (http://journals.aau.dk/index.php/JOS).
2014 International Conference
Mindful Body in the Arts of Eating
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 2-day conference, January 23–24, 2014, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Eating is an essential activity for human life, and without such life there is no thought, no theory, no art. While eating is a need, knowing how to eat is often said to be an art that requires intelligence, knowledge, and imaginative creativity. As another maxim puts it: Animals feed; humans eat; and the wise know how to eat. What considerations guide our eating? How could we make them more intelligent and rewarding? A multitude of diverse factors affect our forms of eating and our choice of food: economic, medical, gustatory, ethical, social, and aesthetic. How do we balance them for a more mindful, healthier, more gratifying art of eating?
This conference explored the art of eating by considering the different sciences and arts that examine and guide the ways we eat and drink. These include the various fields that impact gastronomical theory (from health sciences and cooking to agriculture and economics) and fields that concern the ways food and eating are represented in literature, social theory, and the arts.
2013 International Conference
Body and Technology: Instruments of Somaesthetics
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 3-day conference, January 24-26, 2013, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
The human body is our basic instrument for life, the basis for the creation and use of all our other tools or technologies. As the body has shaped technology, so technology is increasingly reshaping the body: not only by reshaping our bodily habits through which we experience and act in the world but also through the incorporation of prosthetic devices and drug enhancements. Regarding the body as a sensitive sentient soma, rather than as a merely material machine, this conference rethought the relationship between body and technology, focusing on such topics as human-computer interaction, robotics, medical and fitness technologies, technology and the environment, and technologies of the arts. We welcomed papers from the perspectives of both the sciences and the humanities.
Click here to view the conference program.
Conference and Art Exhibition on Pragmatist Aesthetics / L’art à l’état vif
The Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne held a one-day conference, on May 25th, 2012, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Richard Shusterman’s Pragmatist Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), simultaneously published as L’art à l’état vif: la pensée pragmatiste et l’esthétique populaire by Minuit in Paris. The title of the conference is: "Pragmatist Aesthetics: 20 years later"/"L’art à l’état vif: 20 ans après."
To accompany the conference and trace the impact of Shusterman’s work not only in aesthetics, philosophy, and the human sciences but also in contemporary art, the Sorbonne will also be organizing an art show. The exhibition, from May 24th through June 6th, 2012 at the Michel Journiac Gallery in Paris, is entitled "AESTHETIC TRANSACTIONS: Art et philosophie à l’état vif" or in English "AESTHETIC TRANSACTIONS: Pragmatist Philosophy through Art and Life." It is curated by Richard Shusterman and includes seven artists with whom he has worked: Luca Del Baldo (Italy); Carsten Höller (Sweden); ORLAN (France); Pan, Gongkai (China); Thecla Schiphorst (Canada); Tatiana Trouvé (France); and Yann Toma (France). At the opening of the exhibition there will be a live performance of the interactive, wearable artwork Tendrils, embodied by Jinsil Seo, the co-creator, with Thecla Schiphorst, of this piece.
The Michel Journiac Gallery is located at 47, rue des Bergers, 75015 Paris; Métro: Lourmel or Charles Michelis; www.galeriemicheljourniac.sup.fr. Barbara Formis and David Zerbib are providing organizational and curatorial assistance in Paris.
The conference will be held at the Amphitheatre of the Sorbonne’s adjacent Centre Saint Charles, 47-53, rue des Bergers, 75015 Paris. The entire project is led by Richard Conte (professor of art and director of the UMR ACTE, U.F.R. 04, Arts Plastiques et Sciences de l’Art, Université Paris 1 ‒ Panthéon Sorbonne) and by Barbara Formis (Maître de Conférences en Esthétique et Philosophie de l’Art, U.F.R. 04, Arts Plastiques et Sciences de l’Art, Université Paris 1 ‒ Panthéon Sorbonne)
Conference speakers will include the exhibited artists (in a panel discussion) and philosophers such as Jean-Pierre Cometti (France) Peng Feng (China), Matthias Girel, (France), Roberto Frega, Giovanni Matteucci, and Salvatore Tedesco (Italy), Sandra Laugier (France), as well as scholars of aesthetics, literature, and the social sciences such as Wojciech Malecki (Poland), Spyros Franguiadakis (France), Chantal Pontbriand (Britain), and Jacinto Lageira (France). The project leaders from the Sorbonne – Barbara Formis and Richard Conte – will give opening talks and Richard Shusterman will provide a concluding lecture.
This twofold project is organized by the Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, Faculty of Arts Plastiques et Sciences de l’Art (UMR ACTE, Arts ‒ Créations ‒ Théories ‒ Esthétiques). French institutional partners in the project include the Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, Faculty of Philosophy (Equipe de recherche Philosophies Contemporaines) and the Ecole Normale Supérieure d’Ulm: Centre International de Recherches en Philosophie, Lettres, Savoirs. The project is also supported by other international partners: Peking University’s Center for Aesthetics and Aesthetic Education; China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing); and Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters.
For updated details on this conference and art exhibition, click here.
Mindful Body in Healing and the Arts . The Center for Body, Mind and Culture hosted a 2-day conference, January 19th-20th, 2012, with keynote speaker, Anne Harrington, Harvard University, author of "The Cure Within". Regarding the body as sentient, purposive subjectivity (rather than mere physical flesh), the conference focused on ways that somatic mindfulness can contribute to health, healing, and aesthetic experience. Presentations dealt with disciplines of mindful body consciousness (Asian and Western) and their applications in the areas of wellness, fitness, and the arts.
Bodies of Art , The Center for Body, Mind and Culture and the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies hosted a two-day conference, Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 2010, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton. Conference themes, with a focus on art and visual culture, include: the embodied artist, concerning issues of maker and material, inscriptions of the self, or the somatic experience of the creative process; the body in pieces (pace Nochlin), considering the fragment, the crop, dismemberment, or erasure; the en-gendered object, how gender and sexuality are expressed, represented or suppressed; the corpus, or other bodily metaphors for the œuvre, canon or process of creation; and finally the body as art, in all its manifestations.
French Cultures of Embodiment , The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture and the French Program in the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton Campus hosted Conference on French Cultures of Embodiment 25-27 March 2010.To view the conference details, click here.
Conference on Art and Ritual in Asian Cultures , March 20-21, 2009. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. Click here for the conference schedule. Art and ritual empower individuals to communicate their innermost sentiments across temporal, spatial and social boundaries. They offer frameworks and media through which bodily confines are transcended through the structuring support of religious and secular institutions. Art and ritual are exemplary in showing how society shapes our bodily comportment and how, conversely, refined and stylized somatic performance help sustain our institutions and even transform social contexts.
Conference on Art and Ritual in Asian Cultures
, March 20-21, 2009. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. Click here for the conference schedule. Art and ritual empower individuals to communicate their innermost sentiments across temporal, spatial and social boundaries. They offer frameworks and media through which bodily confines are transcended through the structuring support of religious and secular institutions. Art and ritual are exemplary in showing how society shapes our bodily comportment and how, conversely, refined and stylized somatic performance help sustain our institutions and even transform social contexts.
List of speakers
Images from the conference
Bodies in Motion: Explorations in Perception and Performance , Boca Raton, Dec. 4-5, 2008. The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton organized this conference to explore aspects of embodied perception and performance from a variety of humanistic perspectives. The conference was especially focused on research that treats the issues of embodiment, perception, and performance in connection with the arts and with somaesthetic disciplines of mindfulness. For more details on this conference click here.
The Human Nature and Self: Pragmatist Theory from European Perspectives
This conference took place in the FAU University Center Sago Palm Room from 2 - 4:30 PM on Thursday, March 20, 2008. The conference featured two international guest speakers, Kacper Bartczak and Hans-Peter Krueger.
Dr. Bartczak presented a paper on "Self-creation and Creative Strategies in Neo-pragmatist Philosophy and the Poetry of John Ashbery".
Dr. Krueger presented a paper entitled, "On Human Nature: Dewey's and Plessner's Philosopical Anthropologies".
Discussion followed the papers, along with a response from Dr. Richard Shusterman, Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities.
Minding the Body: Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
This inaugural conference of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture took place March 29 and 30, 2007 in FAU's room PA 101. After an introduction by Richard Shusterman on Thursday, Arthur C. Danto, Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University and Art Critic for The Nation, delivered a keynote presentation on "The Body in Philosophy and Art."
Friday's presentations included the following: Mark Johnson (U of Oregon) on "The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetic Dimensions of Human Understanding"; Mark Csikszentmihalyi (U of Wisconsin at Madison) on "Material Virtue: Ethics and the Body in Early China"; Shaun Gallagher (U of Central Florida) on "Pathologies of the Lived Body"; Jane Caputi (Florida Atlantic U) on "The Pornography of Everyday Life"; and Marlaine Smith (Florida Atlantic U) on "Touch as Therapy"; as well as commentary and full-panel discussion with additional faculty, including Kenneth Holloway (Florida Atlantic U)