[xmca] Fwd: Pembroke Center Postdoctoral fellowships

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Thu Nov 10 2005 - 08:21:58 PST

This looks really appropriate for some one of the younger folks on xmca.

Brown University Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women
*2006-07 Pembroke Center Postdoctoral Fellowships

*In 2006-07, the Pembroke Center is awarding one-year residential
postdoctoral fellowships to scholars from any field whose research relates
to the theme of "Mediated Bodies/Bodies of Mediation" (see
www.pembrokecenter.org <http://www.pembrokecenter.org> for full
description). Fellows are required to participate in a weekly research
seminar; no teaching required.
Candidates are selected on the basis of their scholarly potential and the
relevance of their work to the research theme. Recipients must have a Ph.D.
and may not hold a tenured position in an American college or university.
Brown University is an EEO/AA employer. The Center particularly encourages
US minority and third world scholars to apply.

The term of appointment is September 1, 2006-May 31, 2007. The stipend is
$35,000, plus health insurance, unless otherwise covered. For application
forms contact* Elizabeth_Barboza@brown.edu*, or Box 1958, Brown University,
Providence, RI 02912. Application forms also available on line at*
www.pembrokecenter.org <http://www.pembrokecenter.org>*. The deadline for
applications is December 8, 2005. Selection will be announced in February.

*Pembroke Center Postdoctoral Fellowships

Mediated Bodies/Bodies of Mediation
Seminar Leader: Lynne Joyrich
Chesler-Mallow Senior Faculty Research Fellow, Pembroke Center
Department of Modern Culture and Media

*It is said that we live in a media-saturated world, that the media now
constitute the very air we breathe. But what kind of bodies breathe this air
(or airwaves), and how are they formed by media technologies and texts? How
do bodies appear and disappear in media culture? What other "bodies of
mediation" have existed in, for instance, oral, print, or mechanical
cultures? This seminar will explore the relationships between the body and
the media across histories and cultures, considering how bodies are figured
in media forms, how media forms themselves are embodied, and the
interrelations among these phenomena. We will ask what we mean by "media"
and "body," as both are subject to historical change, technological
reframing, and philosophical debate.

Media critique regarding representations of particular bodies-the female
body, the diseased body, the queer body, the body of color-is pervasive. Yet
there are tensions among the arguments. Critiques of women's position as
mediated bodily spectacles are challenged by demands for greater visibility,
even sexualization of gay men and lesbians, demands also made for the media
presence of African Americans (which have sometimes led, in broadcast media,
merely to the isolated development of new "bodies of programming" segregated
to certain stations and times). How should we evaluate these critiques? Can
they be rethought for other bodies, such as the aging, the differently
abled, the nationally or culturally diverse?

Do media forms produce new bodies through new modes of access? Witness the
medical gaze, found in programs ranging from plastic surgery TV to* CSI*-type
investigations, that present new bodily relations, even as science develops
micro-media sensors to inhabit viwers' bodies. How do we distinguish between
bodies and mediation in advanced technological societies where medically
"bionic" bodies are common and an ever-growing reliance on technologies such
as cell phones, MP3 players, and PDAs change our very ways of inhabiting our
bodies? Do these changes redefine the notion of "body genres," that is,
texts that not only represent bodies in pain or pleasure but elicit bodily
responses from viewers (laughter, crying, panic)? Do all media operate at
the level of what has been theorized as "shock effect"? To give a disturbing
example, many people have commented on their visceral responses to the
photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. These images are shocking not only
for the bodily torture depicted but because such torture was, indeed,
photographed. How did the presence of this medium at this scene not only
document but actually constitute abuse? What does this example tell us about
the ontological status of bodies and media forms and about the ethics and
politics of the relationship between them?

Questions regarding bodies of mediation cannot be limited to "new" media
practices. Modes of mediation from pre-industrial and industrial cultures,
from ritual, folk, and classical arts, also represented and produced
particular physicalities and sensations in ways now nostalgically valued as
somehow "closer" to an "authentic" body. What is at stake in that
evaluation, as well as in the corresponding notion that today's media remove
us from the body? Conversely, people speak of new bodily postures, habits,
and irritations that media yield (the cliché of the TV viewer "couch
potato," the person with a cell phone "attached" to the ear, the internet
"surfer" frustrated by waiting for a webpage to load). How have various
forms of mediation historically produced certain gestures and bearings, ways
of mastering or transforming bodies? Consider, for instance, the history of
phonography defined in terms of capturing the voice; cinema's rise
attributed to the urge to measure and exhibit bodies through a
bio-mechanical eye; utopian discourses of virtual media that promise to
transcend the body even as they strive to simulate its sensations.

In today's media, the body seems paradoxically to be both disavowed and a
matter of obsessive concern, as demonstrated by the scandal over the
"shocking" spectacle of Janet Jackson's breast in the midst of the expected
bodily spectacle that typifies the Super Bowl. This case has led to new
government policies for bodies in the media that themselves place the bodies
of viewers under control-an instance of anxiety about mediated bodies
yielding the further mediation of our bodily sensations. Or are bodies
already fully mediated and media already fully embodied? Marshall McLuhan
famously described media as "extensions of man," providing new sensory
organs and prosthetics. Should this claim be taken seriously? Are distinct
"body parts" bound to distinct media? Are media flows our own "secretions"?
Are they bodily violations? How do they function in what Foucault would call
a "capillary" way, touching us and inserting themselves into our daily lives
as media forms both display (in their representations) and demand (in our
use) new bodies and enactments? At a time when we disavow certain bodies at
risk (as, for instance, war planning is increasingly reduced to a video game
strategy, seemingly removed from physical pain), even as we hazard new
embodiments (as micro-media technologies become our organs and skin), it
seems imperative to reexamine conceptualizations, histories, and practices
of mediated bodies.

We seek applicants from a variety of disciplines who are interested in such
questions, including those working on periods, technologies, and contexts
very different from the above examples.

*Post-Doctoral Fellowships
*Fellowships are open to scholars from all disciplines. Recipients may not
hold a tenured position in an American college or university. Preference
will be given to projects in which there is significant scholarly and
theoretical attention given to the theme of the seminar.

This is a residential fellowship. Fellows participate weekly in the Pembroke
Seminar, present two public papers during the year, and pursue individual
research. Brown University is an EEO/AA employer. The Center particularly
encourages third world and minority scholars to apply. The term of
appointment is September 1, 2006-May 31, 2007. The stipend is $35,000, plus
health insurance unless otherwise covered.

*For application forms, contact: Elizabeth_Barboza@brown.edu or phone
401-863-2643. The mailing address of the Center is Box 1958, Brown
University, Providence, RI 02912 (regular mail); Pembroke Center, Alumnae
Hall, 194 Meeting Street, Providence, RI 02906 (express mail). The deadline
for applications is December 8, 2005. Selections will be announced in March.
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