Call for Papers: Somatic Cartography and Stories: Mapping Meaning onto the Body 


Deadline: May 10th 2022, 11:59pm EST

Pivot's upcoming issue is partnering with the English Graduate Student Association's 2022 Conference. As such, please feel free to submit your work to both the conference and to Pivot.

In her 1994 book Volatile Bodies, Elizabeth Grosz called for a movement beyond a mind/body dualism that regards the mind as a social, cultural, and historical object while the body, in contrast, is understood as nothing more than raw material. Grosz advocated for the development of "altogether new conceptions of corporeality . . . which see animate materiality and the materiality of language in interaction [and] which make possible a materialism beyond physicalism." In the decades following Grosz's call, new theories of the body have emerged that acknowledge a complex interrelation between the material body and immaterial theories of mind. Pivot is seeking papers that explore this interrelation and address the body as both shaped by and shaping the world around it. Grosz notes that "[e]very body is marked by the history and specificity of its existence" and suggests that "[i]t is possible to construct a biography, a history of the body, for each individual and social body," and this edition invites a discussion of such biographies.

For the purposes of this issue, the idea of mapping meaning onto the body can be taken up either in an academic paper or through a creative endeavor. Additionally, we are also accepting reviews, interviews and podcasts that discuss an array of mediums (books, film, visual art, events) following the theme of somatic cartography.

Questions to consider:

  •     How do practices of defining geographic space, assigning meaning to elements of nature, or creating nationalities contribute to the way that we understand the human body?
  •     How do stories shape our bodies as sites of cultural inscription, and how do bodies act as sites of both cultural representation and cultural inscription?
  •     How do bodies perform as liminal sites on the border of binary pairs such as private/public, self/other, psychical/social, and natural/cultural.

This edition of Pivot explores how storytelling maps meaning onto the body while also recognizing the body as a shaper of stories. From the oral tradition and early folklore to more recent Caribbean zombie stories that consider the slave's body beyond death, the interrelation between bodies and narratives is ever present. Storytelling shapes the way that the human body is understood by contrasting inanimate objects and non-human bodies against the human form. For example, animal species have symbolically masculine or feminine meanings, racialized bodies have been animalized, and inanimate objects are often gendered. Spiritual writing often associates natural elements with body parts, and colonial records have compared the explorer's ship sailing through water to an act of penetration. Acknowledging the diverse relationships between bodies and stories, this call invites papers in any genre, period, or geographic space.


Topics that may be addressed may include, but are not limited to:

- Representations of the body in art, literature, and media

- Mythology and folklore pertaining to the body

- Laws and regulations dealing with the body

- How disability shapes the meaning associated with bodies

- Race, sex, and gender creating meaning about the body

- How colonialism has shaped meaning about the body

- How technology has shaped meaning about the body

- Spiritual practices shaping the body

- Reproduction and nation-building

- Superhuman figures in literature and implications about the body


For this edition, Pivot invites submissions of:

Academic articles between 2500-3000 words

Poetry up to 3 pages

Short fiction, reviews, creative nonfiction, or other prose of 700-3000 words 

Visual art—including cover submissions

Videos up to 10 minutes (please submit a 300 word pitch for the idea)