SOC 346 - Sociology of the Body
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Sociology (SOC)
Department: LSA Sociology
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
One introductory course in Sociology or Women's Studies.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course explores how bodies have been named, identified, perceived, interpreted, and represented throughout history, particularly in the West from the 19th century onward. Students will explore concepts, theories, and insights about different bodies in American culture and society. While discussing the body and its implications for personal and social life, students will examine issues of identity, justice, citizenship, class, race, gender, sexuality, disability, and other interconnected social identities and issues. It is only recently that scholars have “discovered” the body. Its discovery is linked to the emergence of the social body of modern science and industrial, capitalist society. Since then, the body has become the contested arena of debates concerning sex and desire, gender and race, labor and reproduction. Much of this debate has been sparked by socially subordinated groups who resist ideologies and practices that discriminate on the basis of corporeal differences. Students will examine the bodies of the past, the gendered bodies of women and men and the "racialized" bodies of people of color, as well as the hungry bodies of the obese and the anorexic, the hard bodies of body-builders and the leaking soft bodies of menstruating women, the veiled and naked bodies, the bodies of transsexuals and the intersexuals, as well as the impersonating bodies of drag kings and queens. The course will end with an examination of surgical, mutilated, castrated, and cut bodies as well as the fragmented bodies of wounded war veterans. The course is structured to evoke reflection, discussion, and responses that lead to new understanding of society and students' own bodies. Throughout the course, students will assess the impact of those issues on their private lives and the life of society. Students will gain a greater understanding of the sociological perspective, develop critical thinking skills, and enhance their personal growth. The manner in which the course explores and analyzes this controversial topic creates a pedagogic environment that fosters diversity and team work and encourages students to think more profoundly on their own social and personal values.

Course Requirements:

Course requirements consist of 1) class attendance and participation (10% percent of the grade); 2) a term paper (15%); 3) a Body Project (15%), in which students design and build a creative project to reflect on the concepts, ideas, and theories discussed in class and make connections between the coursework and their own lives; and 4) exams (60% total; 20% each). Test questions are drawn directly from the material presented in lectures, class discussions, and the readings.

Intended Audience:

Sociology concentrators or other students with previous introductory coursework in the social sciences

Class Format:

Two 90-minute lectures per week

SOC 346 - Sociology of the Body
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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