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Cornell University    
  Jan 21, 2018
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 6465 - Bodies and Bodiliness

(crosslisted) STS 6460  
Fall. 4 credits.

S. Langwick.

This course examines a range of texts that treat the body as the subject and object of cultural, technological, political, and ethical processes. Students investigate the cultivation of physical and social bodies through ethnographic and historical materials concerning healing and medicine, discipline and labor, governance and religion, aesthetics and desire. The production and reproduction of bodies and embodied practices have long been central to the way that power works. In this class, we will read and discuss a range of approach to the body. There is much contention over how work, politics, environment, technologies, and violence shape the body and the senses. We will debate how histories of the body are intertwined with histories of gender, race, class, sexuality, (post)coloniality, modernization, science, transnationalism, and the webs of institution, ideas, and capital that comprise these phenomena. Some readings will investigate the complex mediations that account for the body as icon, text, metaphor, commodity, and raw material. Others will contend that serious attention to the production and reproduction of the body across different times and spaces challenge traditional notions of materiality and physicality. Because every examination of the body rests-implicitly or explicitly-in a theoretical and methodological approach to experience, we will also explore the histories of bodily senses, appetites, and capabilities. Ultimately, our inquiry into contests over and reflections on “the body,” as well as specific bodies, aims to open up broader anthropological questions about authority, agency, sovereignties, and material life.

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