American Bodies
In this course we will examine the material culture of the body and the body as material culture, analyzing the artifacts that humans have invented and constructed to assist, enhance, or otherwise shape their physical interactions with the material world. Themes to be explored include skin (tattoos, tanning, bleaching), muscle (exercise and “ideal” bodies, historical and contemporary), adornment (fashion, jewelry, body modification practices), health crazes, performance, medical imaging, and enhancement (fictional and technological cyborgs, plastic surgery). We will investigate practices that fragment the body and objects that were exchanged as tokens of affection, such as nineteenth-century hairwork and eye miniatures. Historical figures to be discussed include cosmetics magnate Madame C.J. Walker, health enthusiasts Sylvester Graham and the Kellogg brothers, bodybuilder and exercise entrepreneur Eugen Sandow, dancer Josephine Baker, efficiency expert Frederick Winslow Taylor, and P.T. Barnum’s collaborations with performers such as Tom Thumb and the conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker. 3 hrs. lect.

1:30pm-2:45pm on Tuesday, Thursday (Sep 9, 2019 to Dec 6, 2019)
Ross Commons Dining 011