Call for Papers: thinking the-body-inside

Special Issue for the Journal of Interior Design
Under the auspices of Interior Design Educators Council

thinking the-body-inside
Ronn M. Daniel & Lynn Chalmers, co-editors

I confront the city with my body; my legs measure the length of the arcade and the width of the square; my gaze unconsciously projects my body onto the façade of the cathedral, where it roams over the moldings and contours, sensing the size of recesses and projections; my body weight meets the mass of the cathedral door, and my hand grasps the door pull as I enter the dark void behind. 
- Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (1996)

The explosion in technologically assisted modifications through cosmetic surgery, piercing, aerobics, and nautilus all point to a conception of the body as raw material to be fragmented into parts, molded, and reshaped into a more perfect form…a ground for staging cultural identities.
- Jacqueline Urla and Alan C. Swedlund, “The Anthropometry of Barbie” (1995)

But all our phrasing… serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.
-Ta-Nehisi Coats, Between the World and Me (2015)

[The role of space] is less and less neutral, and more and more active, both as instrument and as goal, as means and as end.
- Henri LeFebvre, The Production of Space (1991)

It is a truism to say that interior spaces are designed for use by human bodies. Sometimes interiors are created to serve and ennoble bodies, but other times, interiors are created to regulate bodies, or refashion them, or discipline them, or to quarantine bodies apart. When considering our spatial environments, designers and historians face an unavoidable question: how should we theorize the-body-inside?

The human body is our most complex social object. It has been painted on canvases, celebrated in poetry, adorned with fashion and makeup, tested in athletic competitions, sacrificed on altars, measured by criminologists, exiled to menstrual huts, and categorized into pseudo-scientific “races.”

The human body is a plural noun. It is comprised of about 40 trillion human cells, colonized by another 40 trillion non-human microorganisms. The cells are organized into approximately 80 organs and systems. By mass that corresponds to 43kg of oxygen and 16kg of carbon, plus smaller amounts of over fifty other elements. A human body may also be marked with tattoo ink, pierced with precious metals, filled with dental ceramics, aided by optical lenses, augmented with silicon, or anchored with titanium screws.

This special issue invites visual essays, research papers, and case studies that explore the meaning of the human body in the context of interior space. Possible submissions might engage with the following issues:

  • How have interior designers imagined, served, regulated, coerced and shaped the human body historically?
  • In a world obsessed with security, how is the human body controlled and regulated?
  • Experiencing designed interiors through embodied sensory experience.
  • Ideologies of health, gender and race reflected-in and constructed-by interior space.
  • Interiors that have compelled ‘nonconforming’ bodies – colonized, disabled, queer, brown, or feminine -- to carry a ‘burden of difference’.
  • The-body-inside, constituted by mechanical furnishings, technological prosthetics and social/cultural regulations, is no longer a ‘natural’ object.
  • Rethinking representations of the human body -- through drawings, with quantitative and qualitative tools, and in written descriptions.
  • Contemporary design projects (or practices) that are investigating new possibilities for the-body-inside -- projects which use innovative technical means, interiors which generate new forms of sensory experience, and/or spaces designed for new categories or properties of human bodies.
  • Alternative understandings of the-body-inside used by designers to create interiors that increase human freedom and advance justice.  

Submissions should expand and question our conventional understandings of the human body and its complex relationships to interior space.

All work must demonstrate exceptional rigor in the search for new knowledge and ideas. Papers must be original work of the author or authors and are not being considered for publication in other journals. Submissions may be checked for originality using plagiarism-detection software.


February 2019 Call for papers
July 1, 2019 Registration of Interest – Authors are asked to register their intent to submit a paper by sending a 150-word abstract to Ronn Daniel. Please put your surname and “JID Special Issue” in the subject line. Registration of interest is not refereed, nor is it a requirement to submit. However, the acknowledgement of registration facilitates development of a proposal to full research paper by providing confirmation of fit with the special issue. Recognition of fit does not guarantee publication.
February 1, 2020  Full submissions are due. See author guidelines found on JID’s website at Wiley Blackwell
March 2021 Publication of JID Special issue

For questions regarding the call for papers, submission deadlines, or anything related to the content of the Special Issue contact Ronn Daniel. Please put your surname and “JID Special Issue” in the subject line.


Authors should follow the guidelines found on JID’s website at Wiley Blackwell. Please note the unique guidelines for Articles versus Visual Essays (links are midway down the page). Perspectives and Letters are by invitation only.

Technical questions regarding the submission of documents through the ScholarOne website should be addressed to Claire Utley, Editorial Assistant.

The Journal of Interior Design is a scholarly, refereed publication dedicated to issues related to the design of the interior environment. Scholarly inquiry representing the entire spectrum of interior design theory, research, education and practice is invited. Submissions are encouraged from educators, designers, anthropologists, architects, historians, psychologists, sociologists, or others interested in interior design.


Ronn Daniel, M.Arch, NCIDQ, IDEC, associate professor of Interior Design at Kent State University (USA). 

Lynn Chalmers Ph.D.,M.Des., IDEC, former associate professor of Interior Design at University of Manitoba (Canada).

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