Anthropology of the Body

Dr. Aaron Parkhurt‘s course ANTH2009 Anthropology of the Body explores how bodies make, and are made by, physical movements and historical moments, and thinks through what the human body is becoming in a contemporary, more than human world.

Over ten weeks students write blogs on a theme of their choice as they explore the human body as a cultural category and corporality as an anthropological dilemma.  Student wrote on a wide variety of topics including the body in protest, the body in combat, skin, bodily substances, the voice, the senses, the body dominated, the body in photography, the body disciplined, and the body ‘verging on human.’

We would like to highlight one student blog that analyses the body in an intellectually and creative manner.

Mind, Body, and Music by Riyoko Shibe

I am about to finish my final year on the Arts and Sciences degree, majoring in anthropology and political sociology. Anthropology of the body was fascinating because it merged these disciplines, situating the body at the centre of human relations. It looked at the significance of the body in terms of how bodies produce (and are produced by) power, society and politics. The module provided interesting links to my dissertation, where I explored how global citizenship is produced within UCL by drawing on colonial discourses, and how this legitimises existing hegemonic power structures. It doesn’t sound that related the anth of the body, but they all draw from the same philosophical principles where the production of reality is problematised.

In my blog I looked at the relationship between music the mind and the body, looking specifically at how music creates emotion and therefore people, societies and cultures. Here’s a post that discusses the role of music in creating well-being in public spaces and subverting structures that control our movements and bodies within cities I also drew links between the uncanny valley and electronic music, and wrote another critiquing neoliberal perspectives that conceptualise pain as productive – so it was a great platform to explore and combine a broad range of topics, theories and personal interests in a really free and creative way.



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