The Human Body: Subversive Bodies in Literature and Visual Culture



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

  • Di 14:15-15:45, Raum C 303


We cannot think of culture without thinking of the body: From the everyday fashioning and stylizing of our bodies, ways of disciplining and subjecting them to societal norms and values, to forms of embodied resistance - the body plays a crucial role in constituting the ‘self’ and is simultaneously notoriously difficult to define. This seminar aims to explore different avenues to the idea and materiality of the ‘body’ and considers conceptions of it as a discursive product, as a carrier of identity, determined by embodied aspects such as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or social class, to considerations of it as a site of construction where the development and alteration of cultural values and norms becomes visible. Not only our theoretical access to the body, but also our analyses of different forms of representation will be marked by plurality: Thus, we will look at selected examples from literature, media (such as news, TV series, film), and art, and consider normative vs. deviant, gendered, raced, sexualized, or posthuman and artificial bodies. Longer works we will read include H.G. Wells' |The Island of Doctor Moreau| (Oxford World's Classics edition) and Virginia Woolf’s |Orlando| (Oxford World's Classics edition). Please acquire and start reading them during the semester break, further works and material will be announced and/or made available on StudOn at the beginning of the semester.