This course provides an introduction to the arts and humanities through the overarching topic of the human body. The body is a boundary concept at the intersection of philosophy, theology, literature, and the arts – accordingly, we will be exploring it through various mediums such as philosophical and literary texts, paintings, and films.
The course will cover three large topics. First, we will investigate the philosophical problem of the relation between body and mind. Then we will turn to the various ways of representing the body in the arts and discuss two rather different ways thereof: the genre of the nude and that of the grotesque body. Finally, we will go beyond representation and raise the question of what it means to be embodied through the notions of performance and the lived body.
The overall aim of the module is to critically assess the extent to which our preconceptions and representations of the body as well as our experience of being embodied are historically and culturally shaped. The humanities explore the body not merely as a biologically given fact but as a site of meaning which is always up for interpretation.