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31 May 2022 - 1 June 2022

1:00PM - 4:00PM

Online via Zoom

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This symposium aims to collectively explore forms of embodied practices in the post-WWII era with a focus on Japan in the global context.

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Translating Embodiedness

The concept of embodiedness—in which bodily and mental experiences shape each other in relation to their surroundings—played a pivotal role in discourses of the body. World wars and their aftermaths have pushed artists, activists, critics, and writers to reconsider the body politic, and focus instead on an individual subject’s lived experience, while highlighting the inadequacy and limits of sharing bodily experiences with other individuals in a verbal form. However, the way their practices and international networks forged the circulation, migration, and translation of the concept of embodiedness and phenomenological thought remains something of an intellectual gap. The symposium thus moves beyond ideas of embodiedness as dwelling within one’s own body or nation, to look instead at the idea of embodiedness through flow or mobility across bodily, political, and media borders. This interdisciplinary collaborative event aims to develop a new methodology for translating embodied practices across media for various sensory registers—that is, translating bodily experiences into words, images, and performances.

This event has as its basis previous initiatives at Durham, including activities of the Performance and Performativity Research Group (2017–), the trans-sectoral panel on the Body in Postwar Japan for the “Our Uncommon Ground” Conference (2018), “Modern Japan in the Comparative Imagination” Conference (2019), and the ongoing collaboration with dance practitioners, “Touch: Migrating Embodiedness” (2021–). By gathering a small number of scholars from various fields (literature, visual culture, media studies, and performance), this symposium aims to work towards publishing an edited volume and establishing a foundation for further future events. It is hoped that the project will create a platform for considering self-reflexive approaches—whether artistic, creative, or scholarly—to embodiedness in everyday life.

This symposium is funded by Great Britain Sasakwa Foundation, Research Impact Fund at the University’s Research and Innovation Services, and MLAC’s Research Group Performance and Performativity



Day 1

Tues, 31 May (1300–1600 UK), Online


  Welcome / Dance Writing and a Moving Hand

     Fusako Innami (Durham University)

  Literature as Worlding: Natsume Sōseki and Hotta Yoshie

     Michael Bourdaghs (University of Chicago)



  Sensible Poetry: When a Poem Becomes a Dance

     Rosa van Hensbergen (University of Cambridge) 

  Dis-Intercorporeality: On the Unresponsiveness of the Virtual Body

     Paul Roquet (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 


Day 2

Wed, 1 June (1300–1600 UK), Online


Situated Bodies, Traveling Concepts: Lee Ufan, Hélio Oiticica, and the Search for a Phenomenological Art

     Pedro Erber (Waseda University)   

 “An Organism of Colours”: Kawauchi Rinko, Terri Weifenbach, Zhang Kechun

    William Schaefer (Durham University)

Embodiments of Flux: Photography as Feedback, Relation, and Translation

     Franz Prichard (Princeton University)