The Beautiful Body and Its Discontents, Canada, 30 April-5 May 2015

What? The Beautiful Body and its Discontents strand at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) 46th Annual Convention. One of the themes for this strand is the reproductive body.

When? 30 April – 5 May 2015

Where? Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Deadline for submissions? 30 September 2014


In a recent article on Hazlitt, Navneet Alang identifies a discourse of labour that accompanies the aesthetics of the beautiful body: it is the ‘locus of how capitalism has turned the self into its most valuable commodity.’ Alang mobilizes a popular form—the middle-brow blog—to talk about how contemporary popular and celebrity culture connect beauty with hard work, a new form of virtue within a late-capitalist work ethic.
We invite papers that interrogate these intersections: how do capitalism, popular and celebrity culture, contemporary media outlets, and the self-as-commodity shape our understanding of bodies? In what ways are cultures of resistance to normative, commodified discourses of the body vulnerable to co-optations by the very systems they speak back to?


We welcome submissions relating but not limited to any of the following topics:

The body on display: Bodies and film; celebrity culture; optics and erotics; digital selfhood and (re)branding the body;

The consuming body: Health food and optics; healthy and unhealthy environments; fatness and capitalist ethics;

The sick body: Mental illness in popular culture; mental wellness and cultures of positivity; mental health and productivity; slow violence, slow death, and illness as spectacle;

The ‘fit’ body: Disabled embodiment; commodity cultures and the ‘impaired’ body;

The (re)productive body: Pregnancy and motherhood; competitive parenting and the child as commodity.

Submission Process

Please create an account with NeMLA at, and submit an abstract at:

Further Details

Email Sarah Kastner: or Emily Murphy:

Visit the conference website.



Join the conversation! Comments are moderated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s