«Many studies of the body deconstruct embodied difference or call on specific types of non-conforming bodies to act subversively. This book challenges all bodies' ability to create and disrupt bodily norms. Consequently, it extends and crosses the limits of academic and social classifications of embodiment.»  

Jules Sturm

Jules Sturm

Bodies We Fail  - Productive Embodiments of Imperfection.

Transcript Verlag
ISBN: 978-3-8394-2609-8
Published: 2013

Purchase Bodies We Fail

This book explores the productive effects of bodily 'failure' in the sphere of visuality. The aim is to reflect on the human body's constant exposure to visual constraints and distortions, which are incorporated so strongly in everyday images of our bodies that they become invisible, while yet representative of cultural norms. By analyzing artistic literary and visual representations of imperfect, disabled, aging, queer, and monstrous bodies, this project exposes the »handicaps« of normative vision and opens up new ways of recognizing a multitude of corporeal existences and practices outside the norm.

Extract (PDF)


"Weighing Posthumanism: Fatness and Contested Humanity"                                                                Social Inclusion 4.4, with Sofia Apostolidou, 2016

"The Look of the Image", The Contemporary Visual Studies Reader. Eds. J. Elkins,  K. McGuire,  et al. Now York and London: Routlegde, 2013

"Seeing Throug an Aesthetics of Vulnerability", in Disturbing Bodies. Frankfurter   Kulturwissenschaftliche Beiträge Bd. 5. Eds. S. Mieszkowski & Vogt-William. Berlin: Trafo, 2008

"Reading the Monstrous Body: Transgender Corporeality in Djuna Barnes's Nightwood", in: Critical Issues of Sex and Sexuality. Eds. A. Cervantes. Carson & N. Rumens. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007


"Intersektionalitätstheorie an ihren Grenzen", Review of Gendering Disability: Intersektionale Aspekte von Behinderung und Geschlecht.  IASL online, 2012


"Visuality and the Disabled Museum" Special Guests. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL), Forthcoming                                         

"Imagining Manly Idea(l)s: Art and Theory in Conversation", De ideale man, waar is hij, wie is hij, waar blijft hij? Amsterdam: digitalis, 2014

Invited Lectures  

Critical Studies, End of Year Programme, June 14 & 15, 2019. Corpoliteracy. Research in Progress. A performative Dialogue with Jules Sturm and Angelo Custodio.

CAMPUS Fugitive - Nottingham Contemporary, Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Unexpected Beautiful Phrase. CAMPUS Fugitive is the second in a series of events exploring ideas around education and critical pedagogies. Through a series of performative gestures, this event will consider how the fugitive learner navigates institutional space and refuses legibility. Featuring performance, reading, installation, sound and video works, this event asks: how can we be fugitive within formal educational models? How can illegibility generate new and disruptive practices? This day-long programme includes responses from the artists Rosa Johan Uddoh, Christopher Kirubi, Raju Rage, Holly Pester, Jules Sturm, Dorine van Meel, Department for International Dance Development (DIDD), and a film screening by Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman.                                    

"Embodiment, Disembodiment, Overembodiment: On the Relationship of Body Theories and Body Technologies", November 15, 2018. Distinguished Lecture Series, Fighting the Backlash: Gender and Queer Theory im 21. Jahrhundert, Uni Wien, Austria.

"Visuality, Vulnerability, and Animality: Reproductive Technologies and Queer Feminist Pregnancy Narratives”, Feminist Art Fest, May 11-13, 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Army of Love Training Camp, Casco Art Project, Utrecht, October 2017

"Reading the Body: The Mindless Identity of the Eye”, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, May 2017

“Politics of Sickness”, Perdu Theater voor Poëzie en Experiment, Amsterdam, April 2017 - Review

“Feminism and New Materialism”, Wijsgerig Festival Drift, Amsterdam, May 2016

“Willful Blindness – An Ambiguous Concept.”, Perspectives on Diversity – The Cultural Life of Absence.
Conference, Leiden, The Netherlands, January 2016                          

“Art, Visuality, Disability.” Special Guests. Symposium. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, June 2015  

“Academic Perspectives on Disability and Visuality for an Inclusive Museum.” In preparation for the official kick-off event of the museum’s “Special Guests” project for an inclusive museum Eindhoven, The Netherlands, October 2014 

“Bodies We Fail.” Public Lecture, SPUI 25: Academic-Cultural Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 2012  

“Zur Ästhetik der Verletzbarkeit.” Public Lecture. Archiv der Frauen- und Lesbenbewegung, Vienna, Austria, January 2010


"Posthuman Ecologies of Sensation: Reproductive Imaginations in With Animal" 
SLSAeu, Basel, Switzerland, 2017 - Abstract

"With Animal: Literary Imaginations of Posthuman Reproductive Bodies" 
SLSAeu, Stockholm, Sweden, 2016 - Abstract

"Risky Imaginations of Posthuman Reproductive Futures"
Risking the Future, Durham, UK, 2016 - Abstract

"Sensory Ontologies and the Methodological Use of Rudimentary Bodies" 
New Materialist Methodologies: Gender, Politics, the Digital, Barcelona, Spain, 2014 - Abstract

"Art, Bodies, and Agency: Puppets and their Transgressive Force" 
Movement, Aesthetics, Ontology: IV Annual Conference on the New Materialism Turku, Finland, 2013 - Abstract

"Transgression as Regression: How Puppets Fail Agency"
Dislocation Agency and Moving Object: ASCA International Workshop Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2013 - Abstract

"Bodies we Fail"
Public Lecture at Spui25, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2012

"Aesthetics of Vulnerability"
Vulnerability: A Symposium, Otago University, New Zealand, 2010

"Zur Ästhetik der Verletzbarkeiten" 
Stichwort: Archiv der Frauen- und Lesbenbewegung Vienna, Austria, 2009

"Embodied Iconology" 
at TransSomatechnics Conference, Vancouver, Canada, 2008

"Double Exposures of the Vulnerable Body" 
at Queer ID Boise, USA, 2006