CfP Embodying Urban Asia Workshop, Singapore. 29.-30.11.12 Deadline: 23.07.12


Workshop at the National University of Singapore

29 to 30 November 2012

Deadline: 23 July 2012

Asian cities have attracted significant scholarly attention in recent years. Existing academic literature includes examination of the spatial effects of transforming economies, such as infrastructural challenges, projects of gentrification and new forms of social deprivation and segregation. This workshop provides a fresh perspective for discussing urban change in Asia through the specific focus on bodies and their sensorial experiences and indulgences. We hope to move beyond dichotomies of inclusion and exclusion, desired and undesired bodies. Instead, we explore how bodies experience and contribute to transforming urban cultures, practices and spaces. We investigate bodily habits as well as ideas and imaginations of bodies and how these create sensorially experienced realities and physicalities.

By engaging with ways of being in the city, we hope to unpack the many distinct, diverse and overlapping materialities, histories and realities that shape contentious urban negotiations. Some of the guiding questions are: How are Asian cities enlivened by bodies? How do the aspirations of Asian cities to become ‘world-class’ impact on bodily performances and emerging spaces? What are the performative spaces and cultural contexts

that shape bodies, and re-create notions of region, religion, class, caste and gender?

We welcome thick descriptions of negotiations of the lived, desired and imagined bodies and their transforming effect. Papers will provide nuanced understandings of processes of embodiment in Asian cities and theorise

urbanisation from the perspective of physical entanglement and sensual appropriation. Scholars across disciplines are invited to contribute to these debates theoretically, methodologically and poetically. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, works which:

  • Bring bodily performances in and sensual experiences of urban spaces to the centre stage
  • Engage with processes through which spaces and bodies are urbanized in Asia
  • Discuss the impact of urban growth on bodily practices beyond the discourse of other and othering to further complicate the reckonings of urban transformations in Asia.
  • Explores the manner in which different bodies, individually and collectively, claim, disturb or disrupt the disciplining agendas of the new urbanities

Ursula Rao

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology

School of Social Sciences

University of New South Wales