Automatic teller machines, castrati, lesbians, The Terminator: all participate in the profound technological, representation, sexual, and theoretical changes in which bodies are implicated. Posthuman Bodies addresses new interfaces between humans and technology that are radically altering the experience of our own and others' bodies.
Bringing into play the modern day implications of medieval thought on the issue, this is a fascinating and informative addition to the research studies of medieval history, history of medicine and disability studies scholars the English-speaking world over.
Vigarello begins with the medieval artists and intellectuals who treated heavy bodies as symbols of force and prosperity. He then follows the shift during the Renaissance and early modern period to courtly, medical, and religious codes that increasingly favored moderation and discouraged excess. Scientific advances in the eighteenth century also brought greater knowledge of food and the body's processes, recasting fatness as the "relaxed" antithesis of health. The body-as-mechanism metaphor intensified in the early nineteenth century, with the chemistry revolution and heightened attention to food-as-fuel, which turned the body into a kind of furnace or engine. During this period, social attitudes toward fat became conflicted, with the bourgeois male belly operating as a sign of prestige but also as a symbol of greed and exploitation, while the overweight female was admired only if she was working class. Vigarello concludes with the fitness and body-conscious movements of the twentieth century and the proliferation of personal confessions about obesity, which tied fat more closely to notions of personality, politics, taste, and class.
In Perfectly Average, Anna Creadick investigates how and why "normality" reemerged as a potent homogenizing category in postwar America. Working with scientific studies, material culture, literary texts, film, fashion, and the mass media, she charts the pursuit of the"normal" through thematic chapters on the body, character, class, sexuality, and community.
Creadick examines such evidence as the "Norm and Norma" models produced during the war by sexologists and anthropologists -- statistical composites of"normal" American bodies. In 1945, as thousands of Ohio women signed up for a Norma Look-Alike contest, a "Harvard Study of Normal Men" sought to define the typical American male according to specific criteria, from body shape to upbringing to blood pressure. By the early 1950s, the "man in the gray flannel suit" had come to symbolize what some regarded as the stultifying sameness of the "normalized" middle class. Meanwhile, novels such as From Here to Eternity and Peyton Place both supported and challenged normative ideas about gender, race, and sexuality, even as they worked to critique the postwar culture of surveillance -- watching and being watched -- through which normalizing power functioned.
As efforts to define normality became increasingly personal, the tensions em-bedded in its binary logic multiplied: Was normal descriptive of an average or prescriptive of an ideal? In the end, Creadick shows, a variety of statistics, assumptions, and aspirations converged to recast "normality" not as something innate or inborn, but rather as a quality to be actively pursued -- a standard at once highly seductive and impossible to achieve because it required becoming perfectly average.
Using a rich assortment of scientific, medical, and popular literature, Natasha V. Chang’s The Crisis-Woman examines the donna-crisi’s position within the gendered body politics of fascist Italy. Challenging analyses of the era which treat modern and transgressive women as points of resistance to fascist power, Chang argues that the crisis-woman was an object of negativity within a gendered narrative of fascist modernity that pitted a sterile and decadent modernity against a healthy and fertile fascist one.
Meticulously researched, surprising and sometimes shocking, Calories and Corsets tells the epic story of our complicated relationship with food, the fashions and fads of body shape, and how cultural beliefs and social norms have changed over time. Combining research from medical journals, letters, articles and the dieting bestsellers we continue to devour (including one by an octogenarian Italian in the sixteenth century), Foxcroft reveals the extreme and often absurd lengths people will go to in order to achieve the perfect body, from eating carbolic soap to chewing every morsel hundreds of times to a tasteless pulp.
This unique and witty history exposes the myths and anxieties that drive today's multi-billion pound dieting industry - and offers a welcome perspective on how we can be healthy and happy in our bodies.
The Body and Everyday Life offers a lively and comprehensive introduction to the study of the body. It uses case studies in performance practices to examine the key concepts, methods and critical insights gained from this area. It includes sections on:
ethnographies of the body bodies of performance performing gender the ageing performing body.
This book clearly illustrates the complex relationships that exist between the body, society and everyday life, and considers the negative and positive implications for the development of future socio-cultural analysis in the field. It will be an invaluable introduction for students of sociology, body studies, gender studies, dance and performance, and cultural studies.
For historian Margaret A. Lowe, this obsession offers one of the clearest expressions of the social and cultural meanings given to the female body between 1875 and 1930. At the same time, the "college girl" was a novelty that tested new ideas about feminine beauty, sexuality, and athleticism. In Looking Good, Lowe examines the ways in which college women at three quite different institutions—Cornell University, Smith College, and Spelman College—regarded their own bodies in this period. Contrasting white and black students, single-sex and coeducational schools, secular and religious environments, and Northern and Southern attitudes, Lowe draws on student diaries, letters, and publications; institutional records; and accounts in the popular press to examine the process by which new, twentieth-century ideals of the female body took hold in America.
In Killer Fat, Natalie Boero examines how and why obesity emerged as a major public health concern and national obsession in recent years. Using primary sources and in-depth interviews, Boero enters the world of bariatric surgeries, Weight Watchers, and Overeaters Anonymous to show how common expectations of what bodies are supposed to look like help to determine what sorts of interventions and policies are considered urgent in containing this new kind of disease.
Boero argues that obesity, like the traditional epidemics of biological contagion and mass death, now incites panic, a doomsday scenario that must be confronted in a struggle for social stability. The “war” on obesity, she concludes, is a form of social control. Killer Fat ultimately offers an alternate framing of the nation’s obesity problem based on the insights of the “Health at Every Size” movement.
Focusing on six key examples—Melissa McCarthy, Gabourey Sidibe, Peter Dinklage, Danny Trejo, Betty White, and Laverne Cox—Rebellious Bodies examines the new body politics of stardom, situating each star against a prominent cultural anxiety about bodies and inclusion, evoking issues ranging from the obesity epidemic and the rise of postracial rhetoric to disability rights, Latino/a immigration, an aging population, and transgender activism. Using a wide variety of sources featuring these celebrities—films, TV shows, entertainment journalism, and more—to analyze each one's media persona, Russell Meeuf demonstrates that while these stars are promoted as examples of a supposedly more inclusive industry, the reality is far more complex. Revealing how their bodies have become sites for negotiating the still-contested boundaries of cultural citizenship, he uncovers the stark limitations of inclusion in a deeply unequal world.
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Sometimes Sara Pascoe confuses herself. She gets wildly and pointlessly jealous. She spends too much time hating her bum. And you know what she hates more than her bum? Her preoccupation with her bum. She's had sexual experiences with boys she wasn't really into, but still got a post-coital crush on them. She's ruined brand-new relationships by immediately imagining them going into reverse.
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In the Flesh is an intelligent, witty, and provocative look at how we think about—and live within—our bodies. The editors and writers in this collection describe, in many voices, what human bodies feel now. Each author’s candid essay focuses on one part of the body, and explores its function, its meanings, and the role it has played in his or her life.
Written from both the male and female perspectives, contributors include Caroline Adderson, André Alexis, Taiaiake Alfred, Brian Brett, Trevor Cole, Dede Crane, Lorna Crozier, Candace Fertile, Stephen Gauer, Julian Gunn, Heather Kuttai, Susan Olding, Kate Pullinger, Merilyn Simonds, Richard Steel, Madeleine Thien, Sue Thomas, and Margaret Thompson.
Body parts are examined through a multifaceted cultural lens. Readers will explore how the parts are understood, what they mean to disparate societies, how they are managed, treated, and transformed, and how they are depicted and represented. The entries draw from many disciplines that are concerned to some degree or another with human bodies, including anthropology archeology, sociology, religion, political history, philosophy, art history, literary studies, and medicine. The encyclopedia proffers information on a number of cultures, tribes, and customs from East and West. Ancient practices to the latest fad, which in fact might continue ancient practices, are illuminated. Other considerations that arise in the essays include comparisons among cultures, the changing perceptions of the body, and issues of race, gender, religion, community and belonging, ethnicity, power structures, human rights.
This book provides a clear, focused road map to the study of the body in society. It defines, explains and applies core topics relating to the human body demonstrating how we approach it as a social phenomenon. Each concept:Includes an easy to understand definition Provides real-world examples Gives suggestions for further reading Is carefully cross-referenced to other related concepts. Written to meet the needs of the modern student, this book offers the basic materials, tools and guidance needed study and write about the body.