CFP: Secretions: Social/ Literary/ Planetary Bodies and their By-Products

This issue of Working Papers, the Graduate Journal of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Romance Languages, will be devoted to the relationship between art, culture, human life, and waste.

In many ways, the issue of waste – like the issue of sustenance – is the place where our thoughts about our bodies (sexuality, sanitation, aesthetics, infection, comfort, privacy) and our thoughts about our world (toxicity, sustainability, beauty, danger, conflict) collide.

The health and environmental concerns of the present moment (To name a few: The homogenization of farming methods and the politics of food supply, the proliferation of pharmaceuticals, the increased difficulty and hazard implicit in the mining of raw materials, and increased toxicity in general) serve to draw our attention to two main questions of late “globalized” capitalism:

The first and most widely discussed, of course, is that of availability and demand – that is to say, the limits of production. The second is the question of waste or by-product (generally undesired). In economic/ bodily/ environmental terms, this phenomenon goes by many names, among them:

by-product externality refuse secretion
solid waste liquid waste gaseous waste toxic waste
spill-off drainage excess overflow
packaging wrapping film (as in a layer on a liquid surface)
discharge second-hand unplanned inventory
Noise/ Light/ Visual/ Spectral Pollution expenditure

And one can also think of different labels that classify, justify, or “secret” by-products:

beta-version trial run placebo
faulty model invasive species alien species

We invite graduate students from all universities and disciplines to submit articles analyzing these notions and relationships in French, Francophone, Spanish, Latin American, and Italian literature, film, art, and popular culture from the Middle Ages to the present day. Papers may address works that deal with the environmental questions and biopolitics – such as José María Arguedas’ novel El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo or Georges Franju’s film Le Sang des bêtes – or they may approach the themes of waste, scatological impulses, and/or remains more generally as they pertain to relationships among art, the body, and the planet.

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, Junel 15th. Read our submission guidelines.

We welcome papers in English and in any of the Romance languages.

Nota bene: Papers written in a language other than English should have as their primary focus literary and artistic works produced in that language. (We do not accept, for example, a paper in French written primarily about Spanish novels.

Surplus: Artist Jammie Nicholas created a perfume from his own body waste Read more: