Warning! This unit contains mature content and may not be suitable for some students. Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.
The Body in History
Look back at the attitudes and theories people have held about the body throughout recent history. Identify shifting attitudes to body health and beauty. Expose how attitudes have been shaped by considerations like gender, race and sexuality.
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- 06 Mar 2023
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At the completion of this subject you will be able to:
- identify the central aims and objectives of the body as a way to understand history;
- understand the place of the body in history in world historical context;
- recognise and compare the complexities and varieties within specific histories of medicine, health, embodiment, gender and difference;
- place the history of the body within the larger frameworks of transnational, imperial and colonial history;
- apply ways of thinking about bodies and the body to rethinking world history;
- employ analytical thinking skills and reflect critically and ethically on the above issues;
- analyse, evaluate and synthesis a range of historical images and texts;
- develop sustained, logical and informed arguments about the dynamics of the body in world history;
- appreciate and evaluate the variety of approaches to the body in world history;
- draw on a knowledge of history to understand the complexities and dynamics shaping, forging and limiting the body as a historical concept and lived experiences.
- Anatomy to surgery
- The invention of the asylum: prison and the treatment of the insane
- Skin in history
- Sexing the body
- Dangers of the city
- Punishing the body
- Death and modern life
- Bodies on display: science, museums and bodies
Note: Level 2 subjects normally assume an introductory level of prior knowledge in this area, e.g. from studying related Level 1 subjects or other relevant experience.
No additional requirements
This subject focuses on the history of the body since the mid eighteenth century. We will look at why physical and mental health have been the concerns of governments, how different populations have been identified as 'fit' or unfit', and the way in which gender, sexuality and 'race' have shaped public understandings of a variety of bodies and subjects. The subject covers diverse representations of 'the body' as an ideal and its relationship to actual bodies in modern history, from public health to sex education and psychiatry, and from femininity to sanitation.
- Online Discussion (15%)
- Review an Essay (15%)
- Draft Plan — For Essay (15%)
- Research Essay (55%)
For textbook details check your university's handbook, website or learning management system (LMS).