Cosmetic Cultures (2009, June 24-26, Leeds, UK)


In one of the Chapters of the Human Futures book, Professor Sandra Kemp discusses modifications of the face. This conference looks like it covers some of this ground and looks like a really interesting meet: Cosmetic Cultures to be held in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Leeds from the 24 to 26 of June 2009.

Papers on any element of ‘cosmetic cultures’ are welcomed but the conference seeks to move beyond well rehearsed ‘Beauty Myth’ arguments.

Beauty has often been conceptualised as the concern only of women (or the only concern of women!) and as idealised in ‘whiteness’or ‘Westerness’. Whilst many have found significant evidence to support these claims, work in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies has already flagged up the importance of men, masculinities and beauty, both in the ‘West’ and ‘East’ and has disrupted the idea that whiteness alone presents idealised beauty in all parts of the world, or even in this one. Whilst beauty ideals may be important in one sense, this conference also aims to explore beauty practices. The subject’s engagement in beauty practices may be ‘transformative’ in line with current ideals, and undertaken in the clinic, or it may be everyday and mundane, practices in the home or ‘salon’.

Themes will include:

National beauty cultures and histories and the intersection between local and globalised ideals; Beauty practice ranging from ‘spectacular’ makeover cosmetic surgery to mundane beauty technologies such as diet and exercise, skin tanning/ lightening, hairstyling, hair removal and tattooing/piercing. Intersections of ‘race’, class, gender and beauty cultures and practices; men, masculinities and beauty; LGBI and Trans beauties; surgical tourism; TV makeover shows; Work in the ‘beauty industry’, including medical practices and cultures, beauty salons and cosmetics marketing and manufacture as well as (fashion and glamour) modelling.

By encouraging participants to explore beauty cultures, practices and politics in their broadest sense we hope to advance current debates and develop an international network of researchers.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

* Professor Carolyn Cooper - University of the West Indies * Professor Kathy Davis - University of Utrecht * Dr Debra Gimlin - University of Aberdeen * Dr Meredith Jones - University of Technology, Sydney * Professor Toby Miller - University of California, Riverside * Professor Elspeth Probyn - University of Sydney

200 word abstracts and panel suggestions should be emailed to: Matthew Wilkinson at m.wilkinson@leeds.ac.uk  no later than 1 March 2009. Please mark all emails with ‘Cosmetic Cultures’ in the subject line.

For further info, visit the conference website: http://www.wun.ac.uk/genderstudies/leeds_2009/main.html

Best wishes