Thinking through the Body

Spring 2011

Class  Professors 

Class Number:  CDS 566 Carol Hendrickson Amer Latif

Time: MW 11:30 – 12:50

Location: Dal 43 Dalrymple 12 Science 204

 Tel: x224 Tel: x558

Credits: 4

Level: Introductory

Prerequisities: none

Course Overview

This course will explore how the body is experienced and used to make sense of the world. We will begin the semester considering a range of issues having to do with the body: the symbolic and metaphorical body, the body in motion, body senses, the gendered body, the body politic, the body at the beginning and end of life, body parts. The final several weeks will be devoted to a consideration of the body understood in ritual contexts.

Notetaking: Be sure to take notes that will enable you to do comparative analysis of themes and/or cases throughout the semester. Amer will show how to do a larger semester wide table and in doing so demonstrate ways of taking notes and organizing material where the table serves as a boiling down of thought. Carol will demonstrate how to do a form of two-column notetaking that will enable you to record key ideas from the readings alongside your own ideas, questions, links to other works, and material to be researched further.

* * * * * *


Week 1

Jan 19 Introductory class – 20 minute session

Week 2

Jan 24 What counts as your body?

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Write 2-3 pages answering the question: What counts as your body? E-mail

 copies of your essay to Amer ( and Carol

 ( by Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Please put “What counts as your

 body?” in the subject line.

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “Introduction” in B:KC (pp. 1-13)

Jan 26 Approaching “the body” along multiple routes

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical

 Anthropology” by Margaret Lock & Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Medical

 Anthropology Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1987), pp.6-41. (To

 locate a copy on, go to AnthroSource under E-journals at our library site or goggle

 Ã¢â‚¬Å“lock scheper-hughes”).

Week 3

Jan 31 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chapter 1 of B:KC (pp. 15-35)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Come to class with notes, ready to discuss where Blackman’s ideas overlap with

 those of Lock and Scheper-Hughes. What additional approaches does she suggest

 for studying the body?

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “Body Ritual Among the Nacerima” by Horace Miner. American

 Anthropologist, vol. 58 (1956), pp. 503-507. (AnthroSource or simply google the

 title of the article; many copies exist on-line.)

Feb 2 SNOW . . . no class

Week 4

Feb 7 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “The Body” by William R. Lafleur in Critical Terms for Religious Studies, Mark

 C. Taylor, ed. Pp. 36-54. (course website).

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Turn in a sample of your notetaking today.

Feb 9 The body in life . . .


 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “When Does Life Begin? : A Cross-Cultural Perspective on the Personhood of Fetuses and

 Young Children.” by Lynn M. Morgan in Talking about People: Readings in Contemporary

 Cultural Anthropology (3rd Edition), eds. W.A. Haviland, R.J. Gordon, and L.A. Vivanco.

 Boston: McGraw Hill. Pages 35-46. (course website)

  Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ First short paper due: key term

Not required for class, but you might also want to look at these interesting related articles:

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Marcia C. Inhorn, “Quest for Conception: Gender, Infertility, and Egyptian Medical

 Traditions.” (course website)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Martin, Emily. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based

 on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles.” In Signs Vol. 16, No. 3 (Spring 1991) pp. 485-501.


Week 5

Feb 14 . . . and death

 Required reading:

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “Human Body Parts as Therapeutic Tools: Contradictory Discourses and Transformed

 Subjectivities,” by Margaret Lock. In Beyond the Body Proper: Reading the Anthropology of

 Material Life, Margaret Lock and Judith Farquhar, eds. Durham, NC: Duke University Press,

 2007. Pp. 224-231 (course website)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ "‘Thus Are Our Bodies, Thus Was Our Custom’: Mortuary Cannibalism in an Amazonian

 Society,” by Beth A. Conklin. American Ethnologist, Vol. 22, No. 1 (February 1995), pp. 75-

 101. (AnthroSource)

Not required for class, but you might also want to look at these interesting related articles:

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Fly for the Prosecution: how insect evidence helps solve crimes by M. Lee Goff (library)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Bone Voyage: A Journey in Forensic Anthropology by Stanley Rhine (library)

FEB 15  Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Attend the talk by Kathryn Lipke on “Molas in Transition.” 4:00 in Drury Gallery or TBA.

Feb 16  Blurred boundaries

  Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chapter 2 of B:KC (pp. 37-58)

Week 6

Feb 21  Human/non-human animal, human/machine, human/architecture….

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “When Species Meet: Introductions” (pp. 3-27, 31-42), by Donna Haraway. In When

 Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. (course website)

  Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Donna Haraway video (in class)

Feb 23 Bodies and differences

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chapter 3 of B:KC (pp. 59-81)

Week 7

Feb 28 Race and Ethnicity

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chin, Elizabeth. “Ethnically correct dolls: Toying with the race industry.” American

 Anthropologist Vol.101, No.2- 305-321. (AnthroSource)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Take a look at this website:

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Second short paper due: key term

Gender diversity – make-up class (after missing one day due to snow)

• reading “Transcending and Transgendering: Male-to-Female Transsexuals, Dichotomy, and Diversity,” by Anne Bolin. In Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, Gilbert Herdt, ed. New York: Zone Books, 1996.

• film: “Paris Is Burning”

Mar 2 Clothing and adornment: the second skin

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “The Social Skin,” by Terence S. Turner. In Beyond the Body Proper: Reading the

 Anthropology of Material Life, Margaret Lock and Judith Farquhar, eds. Durham, NC: Duke

 University Press, 2007. Pp. 83-103. (course website)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Plus consider the clothing dimensions of the Anne Bolin article and film “Paris Is Burning”

Week 8

Mar 7 The sentient body

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chapter 4 of B:KC (pp. 83-103)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Proposal for your final paper


Mar 9 How many senses are there?

• Today we’d like you to read a chapter/article or two from one of a number of different edited volumes on the senses. These can be found on Hendrickson/Latif reserve:

• The auditory culture reader / Michael Bull and Les Back, eds. - Oxford: Berg, 2003.

• The smell culture reader / Jim Drobnick, ed. - Oxford: Berg, 2006.

• The taste culture reader: experiencing food and drink / Carolyn Korsmeyer, ed. - Oxford: Berg, 2005.

• The book of touch / Constance Classen, ed. - Oxford: Berg, 2005.

• The Varieties of sensory experience: a sourcebook in the anthropology of the senses / David Howes, ed. - Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991.

• Worlds of sense: exploring the senses in history and across cultures / Constance Classen. - London; New York: Routledge, 1993.

• The emotions: a cultural reader / Helena Wulff, ed. - Oxford: Berg, 2007.

• See also David Howes’ Research Sampler (with links to articles)


Week 9

Mar 14 Spring Break

Mar 16 Spring Break

Week 10

Mar 21 Spring Break

Mar 23 Spring Break

Week 11

Mar 28 Power / Control / Pain

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “The Body of the Condemned.” by Michel Foucault. From Discipline and Punish: The Birth

 of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books, 1979. (course website)

• Also take a look at "The Cultural Face of Terror in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994," by Christopher Taylor. In Annihilating Difference: the anthropology of genocide, Alexander L. Hinton, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. (course website)

Mar 30 Bodies in Motion

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chapter 5 of B:KC (pp. 105-130)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ “Up, Across and Along,” by Tim Ingold (course website OR go to Google Scholar and type

 in “up, across and along”; the article is the first item, a pdf. Note: you get a different version

 of the article if you search by the title in the “regular” Google website.)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ video: selections from “The T.A.M.I. Show”

Week 12

April 4 Bodies Possessed

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Spirit Possession + Women and Possession + Glossolalia– Encycl. of Religion (course  website)

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ video: selections from Maya Deren’s “The Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti”

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Third short paper due: key term

April 6 Embodied Learning Symposium (April 6-10th)

Week 13

April 11 Discussion/Student presentations on selected events from the symposium

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Bibliography for your final paper (at least 3 sources that you will be using, with a short

 statement explaining how these will be helpful in writing your paper)

April 13 Sari Brown and Carol Hendrickson will present materials from their recent trip to Bolivia funded by a Marlboro College Aron Grant for student/faculty collaboration. This field project is an attempt at a multi-sensorial presentation of key environments in La Paz…a sense of “being-in” La Paz.

• Last short paper due: key term

Week 14

April 18 The Body in Ritual Contexts

 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Materials to be assigned (TBA)


April 20 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ TBA

Week 15

April 25 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ TBA


April 27 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ TBA

Week 16

May 2 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Conclusion to B:KC (pp. 131-138)


May 4 Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Short presentations on final papers 


Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM