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Message posted on 13/10/2020

Mask: The Face of Covid-19

Call for papers for the virtual conference panel, Mask: The Face of Covid-19, at the mostly virtual RAI Film Festival 25-28 March 2021, Bristol.

We invite you to submit proposals for our panel, Mask: The Face of Covid-19.

Here is the long abstract:

This panel explores anthropological responses to masking. Masking is an important element in the ethnography of Covid-19. In performance and ritual studies, masking is usually analysed in relation to personal and social transformation, and ways in which the masker is opened up or exposed to otherness in various forms, with the risk of possession and loss of self. Controversies over veiling in Islam have reinforced notions of alterity, but masking during C-19 is challenging this (Eli 2020). Masking has also been a metaphor of invasion by the other, but this view of contagion as alterity that has long been criticised by Napier (1992) and recently reprised (2020). Concealing the face in carnival and protests during the lockdown are recent examples of performative expression as ritual inversion or direct action. Widespread home manufacture of face-coverings and fashion’s embrace of the mask as statement underline complex aesthetics and agency at play. Face masks have been highly controversial during the current pandemic arguably because they are where the social collides with the most directly personal embodied engagement with risk management and the threat to personal identity and expressivity. Contributors are invited to explore themes relating to masks and masking, including purely visual presentations (film/photographs) that reflect their own lockdown experiences. Possible themes include aesthetics; the craft of face covering; political and medical discourses; surveillance and control; protest (direct action or humour); risk management; advertising imagery; ecological impacts.

Proposals can be submitted via the following link by 15 November 2020: https://nomadit.co.uk/conference/raiff2021#9494

Questions to Cathy Greenhalgh or me can be sent via the same link.

We look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Felicia Hughes-Freeland Cathy Greenhalgh

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