The Body in Culture & Society

Course Description

The aim of the course is to explore the social production of the body through a few of its many iterations. This inquiry – which relies heavily on ethnographic materials while incorporating history, cultural theory, sociology, and philosophy – understands the body as multiple, formed within certain knowledge processes and contexts. As such, the course simultaneously explores how the body becomes an object and subject in the world, as well as how it can be decoded and shifted into other kinds of bodies.

This course is organized through a look at a series of different kinds of bodies, or regimes of meaning that produce and shape the body. We will look to how the body is created cross culturally, toward an understanding of the meaningful and symbolic basis of the material body. The course explores how the body is made through different kinds of knowledge practices and contexts. And, how the body is a material and meaningful object for our individual place in the world.  

Taught Winter 2018, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto Scarborough.