Courses in Institute for the Humanities (Division 394)

411. Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies. Advanced undergraduate standing. (1). (Excl). May be repeated for credit.

SECTION 001 WOMEN'S BODIES IN GREEK SCIENCE. Between the fifth century BC and the second century AD the concepts used to differentiate the female body from the males changes radically, and this change can be characterized in the same terms as those Foucault used to indicate the difference between Classical and later concerns regarding sexuality. In the earlier period the focus was on the physiological processes of a woman's body-female dynamics; later the emphasis shifted to anatomy female form. We will consider this development in the SCIENTIFIC material in the light of the changing social position of women and the changing cultural attitudes towards the female body. The growing concern with the physical nature of women in non-scientific spheres will be placed in the context of pollution beliefs as formulated by Douglas. Drawing on the work of Ardener and Gottlieb, an attempt will be made to identify women's active role in the development of these concepts. Enrollment is limited to 15 students. (Dean-Jones)

SECTION 002 THE SEXUALIZED BODY IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE. By way of weekly three-hour seminars, the class will explore a range of interdisciplinary material about the construction and control of the body in Europe, particularly Italy, between c.1350 and 1550. The politics and history of sexuality will be considered within theoretical frameworks, especially those provided by Michel Foucault and the anthropologist Mary Douglas. Foucault's interpretation of the history of sexuality as a discourse about power and Douglas' examination of cleanliness and pollution in relation to order form our backdrop, against which selected topics and case studies will be investigated. The central regulating function of the Church through images, doctrines, and such practices as confession, is one key focus. Another focus will be social behavior, again examined with the aid of material drawn from history, art history, and literature. A large section will concentrate on the construction of DEVIANCE, including disease, homosexuality, adultery, prostitution, and rape. Specific topics will also include the body and food, the masculine body, the maternal body, and erotica both verbal and visual. Required written work will consist of an annotated bibliography and a final paper. Regular participation in seminar discussion is also essential. Enrollment is limited. (P.Simons)

SECTION 003 SEXUALITY AND SELF IN THE RENAISSANCE. The purpose of this class will be to explore the relationship between construction of gender and conceptions of identity in the Renaissance. Regulated by the corollary disciplines of religion and civility, sexuality is the site of many of the most pressing transformations in the Renaissance. Placing the Renaissance discourse of sexual desire against the influential statements of Plato. St. Paul, and St. Augustine, we will use sexuality as a register of changes in social behavior and religious thought in the period. Literary works to be studied include More's UTOPIA, Catiglione's COURTIER, Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT, Donne's SONGS AND SONNETS, Lanyer's SALVE DEUS REX JUDAEORUM, and Milton's PARADISE LOST. Attention will be paid throughout the term to representations of the body and sexuality in the visual arts, to changing notions of bodily privacy in clothing and domestic architecture, to medical theories about hygiene and sexual functioning, and to social history. Using the insights of Norbert Elias into the CIVILIZING PROCESS of Western culture, the procedures of Foucault's HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, and feminist critiques of conventional gender constructions, we will work to situate current critical debates about gender, power, history, and the self in a Renaissance vocabulary. (Schoenfeldt)


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