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Pre-College Program Category: Humanities/Language/Writing

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  • Nothing seems more natural to us than our own flesh and blood. We experience our bodies as if they are simply “here,” so much a part of who we are that we take them for granted. Yet what we call the body is in fact a historical object. This seminar traces the social and cultural construction of corporeality from Plato to the present day.How have we come to know the body as possessing attributes called “gender,” “sexuality,” and “race”? Why have some bodies in history been seen as monstrous, perverted, and unholy? What makes bodies pleasurable and dangerous? We will ask these questions and many others while examining a broad range of evidence from the ancient era to the present day, including philosophy, science, literature, painting, photography, and film.Our survey of the body’s history will include a consideration of the nineteenth-century “medicalization” of the body, philosophies of the body, the ways in which the body has been a problem for Western thought, and how the body can stand in for both the most “real” and the most utterly phantasmic.

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  • Eligibility:

    rising seniors