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Online Symposium – Dismantling the Body

Submitted on April 1, 2022 - 3:33pm
Lou-ann Neel and Amanda Cachia
Lou-ann Neel and Amanda Cachia


The Graduate Students of Art History (GSAH) are pleased to invite you to the two-day virtual symposium “Dismantling the Body: Possibilities and Limitations in Art Making” on May 18–19, 2022.

Throughout art’s history, the human body has been a site of tensions, subject to regulations, overcoming or submitting to physical challenges, but also offering far-reaching opportunities for self-expression. This symposium will bring together scholars and artists to explore the interactions between body and place, the production of bodily knowledge, the regulation of the body, and its agency.

Please register then use this Zoom link.

Keynote Speakers

May 18: Lou-Ann Neel

Neel is from the Mamalilikulla and Kwagiulth people of the Kwakwaka’wakw (the Kwak’wala-speaking people). She is a practicing visual artist, working in textiles, jewelry, illustration, painting, and digital design. In addition to her artistic practice, Neel serves as Curator of the Indigenous Collections and Acting Head of Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department at the Royal BC Museum. She will speak about Indigenous ways of art-making. Learn more about Neel.

May 19: Amanda Cachia

Cachia is a curator, writer, and art historian who specializes in disability art activism across intersectional axes of difference, including gender, race, and sexuality. Cachia received her PhD in Art History, Theory & Criticism from the University of California San Diego in 2017. She is developing two book projects: the first, entitled Revision of the Senses: Disability, Art, Agency, under peer review with Duke University Press, and the second is entitled Restraining Bodies: Feminist Disability Aesthetics in North Africa and the Middle East. Her first edited volume, Curating Access: Disability Art Activism and Creative Accommodation, under contract with Routledge, will be released in December 2022, that includes over 40 international contributors. Learn more about Cachia.


Wednesday, May 18


Welcome by Jamie Walker, Director, School of Art + Art History + Design


Introduction by Or Vallah


Keynote by Lou-ann Neel


Panel 1: Masking, Veiling, Performing
Chair: Chanee Choi, DXArts; Co-chair: Kris Kryscynki., Art History

  • Maike Wagner, “Exploring Bodily Limitations of Masculinity: Cassils’ Queer Embodiment in Cuts. A Traditional Sculpture”
  • Rachel Bonner, “Embodying Terra Incognita: Vision, Power, and the Monocular Veiled Women of Colonial Lima”
  • Emilia White, “Lemons”


Panel 2: Absent/Present
Chair: Mona Mehri, Drama; Co-chair: Nicole Block, Art History

  • Vanessa Gillette, “Absent Bodies, Material Remains: Juan Manuel Echavarria’s Silencios” (Content warnings: civil war, death, violence and forced displacement)
  • Charlie-Anne Côté, “Clean vs. dirty bodies ‒ hygiene as a ground for discrimination in homeless peopleʼs access to public toilets”
  • Soo-Min Shim, “Beyond Borders and Biology: The Performance Art of Lisa Myeongjoo”

Thursday, May 19


Introduction by Giordano Conticelli


Keynote by Amanda Cachia


Panel 3: Bodily Knowledge Part 1
Chair: Mindy Cohoon, Near and Middle Eastern Studies; Co-chair: Inji Kim, Art History

  • Valentina Bartalesi, “Cartographies of grief (and subversion): a sensory approach to the deconstruction of the female body”
  • Lucy Branchflower, “Pink Prisons and Concrete Closets: Solitary Confinement as a Queer Art Space” (Content warnings: homophobia, transphobia, self-injurious behavior, death and suicide)
  • Monika Jaeckel, “Towards an Awareness of Interferential Reverberations”
  • Ally Zlatar, “The Starving Artist: Understanding the Inner Turmoil” (Content warnings: eating disorders, trauma, self harm and suicide)


Panel 4: Bodily Knowledge Part 2
Chair: Martha Ryan, English; Co-chair: Nic Staley, Art History

  • Lauren Bradshaw, “Material Entropy” (Content warnings: mild nudity & body dysmorphia)
  • Rachel Trusty, “Understanding Embodiment within the Artistic Genre of Queer Abstraction”
  • Pato Hebert, “Lingering” (Content warnings: illness and death)


Concluding Remarks by Ananya Sikand


Three members of GSAH and its reading group, Dismantling the Canon, organized this symposium:

  • Giordano Conticelli, PhD student
  • Ananya Sikand, PhD Candidate
  • Or Vallah, PhD Candidate

Disability Accommodation

To request disability accommodation, contact the UW Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 (voice), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-685-7264 (fax), or, preferably at least 10 days in advance of the event.

Image Credit

Lou-ann Neel with a model pole made by her grandmother, Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist Ellen Neel. Photograph by Sven Haakanson Jr.

Aaron McPeake, Gongs, 2007–10, installation view, Sweet Gongs Vibrating, curated by Amanda Cachia, San Diego Art Institute, 2016 (artwork © Aaron McPeake; photograph by Ryan Gambrell).

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