Somaesthetics and Sports: Call for Papers

Call for Papers:

Special Volume on “Somaesthetics and Sport”

Sport offers opportunities for the integrated experience of human embodiment.  At the same time, sport occurs within, shapes and is shaped by a sometimes vexing tension in which individual desire unfolds and contends with various broader converging forces such as physical limitation, natural and artificial environments, technology, institutional norms, cultural attitudes and stereotypes, social circumstances, and political struggles.  Scholars in disciplines from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities have all shed important light on these different dimensions of sport. For this volume in the series Studies in Somaesthetics, we intend to develop a mutually illuminating and enriching dialogue between sport, broadly conceived, and the interdisciplinary methods of somaesthetics.

Richard Shusterman, who coined the term, has defined somaesthetics  as “the critical study and meliorative cultivation of the soma as our medium of perceptual appreciation and performance but also as the site of our expressive self-fashioning” and as “concerned with a wide diversity of knowledge forms, discourses, social practices and institutions, cultural traditions and values, and bodily disciplines that structure (or could improve) such somatic understanding and cultivation.”

(For more on somaesthetics and the series Studies in Somaesthetics, please see the series page on Brill’s website.)

As such, somaesthetics describes at once topics and perspectives that might emerge from any discipline in the arts, humanities, social sciences or natural sciences and that may be brought to bear on any sporting phenomenon from organized mainstream sports (soccer, American football, tennis, etc.) to so-called action sports (Parkour, surfing, hang gliding) and from recreational sports (pickup basketball, squash) to wellness activities (yoga, swimming, pilates) to curricular initiatives in physical education.

We welcome contributions from scholars, from any discipline and on any aspect of sport, with an interest in cultivating the dialogue between sport and somaesthetics. We are interesting not only applications of somaesthetics to sport, but in ways that the study of sport may contribute new questions, topics, and methods to somaesthetics. With that in mind, some possible topics, foci, lines of tension, and questions potential contributors may consider:

  • How do the respective somaesthetics experiences of spectator and participant differ? How are they similar? How do they mutually shape one another?
  • What role may somaesthetics play in developing curricula in wellness and physical education?
  • What are the somaesthetic qualities of athletic training and performance?
  • How do emerging scientific and technological discourses and practices relating to sport impact the somaesthetics of sport?
  • To what extent and in what way is there a role for explicit, critical body consciousness or reflective somaesthetic awareness in sports? Is it limited to training or does it extend to competent or high-level performance.
  • How might a somaesthetic perspective approach the risk, prevalence, and impact of injury in sport (for example, but not only, of concussions and concussion-related brain trauma)?
  • How might somaesthetics shed light on the position of the sporting body as a site of social difference and political struggle, and vice-versa?
  • What are the somaesthetic dimensions of disability sport? What sort of light can the study of disability sport shed on the topics and methods of somaesthetics?
  • How do situational variations in sport (informal/recreational vs. institutionalized/commercial; individual vs. team vs. collective) impact the kinds of somaesthetic experiences available to spectators and participants?
  • What roles do different media (news, broadcast, instructional, social) play in shaping the somaesthetic dimensions of sport?
  • How do different spaces and environments—public or private, massive stadiums or informal playgrounds, urban, suburban, rural, or natural, indoor or outdoor, —shape the somaesthetics of sport?
  • How are the somaesthetics of sport impacted by the varied conditions of sport—from private, individual or group recreational activities to elaborately staged, commercial spectacles?
  • What relationships exist between the arts (literature, visual arts, music, cinema) and the somaesthetic dimension of sport?
  • In what ways might somaesthetic dimensions of sport, or somaesthetic approaches to sport, shed light on any of the functions regularly attributed to sport (e.g. escape, social bonding and identification, ideological interpellation, cultural struggle, and/or art and creative self-expression)?

Information about abstract and paper submissions.

  • Authors should submit a separate cover page indicating: author’s name, institutional affiliation, paper title, abstract of 250 words, word count, keywords, and contact information.
  • Abstracts due **November 15, 2018**
  • Papers should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words and prepared for blind review. They should also be prepared according to the publisher’s style guidelines as indicated on the Brill website.
  • Final papers due early Fall, 2019.
  • All submissions should be sent to Professor Yago Colás (ycolas@oberlin.edu). Please put “Studies in Somaesthetics Submission: Somaesthetics and Sport” in the subject line.

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