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Embodied Methodologies: Cultivating the Scholar’s Bodymind for New Models of Animate Inquiry

The Embodied Methodologies group blogs about its experiences.

Cultures practice somatic conditioning, predisposing members to experience the world in particular ways. (“Soma” is the Greek word for body. The term “somatic” is used within the field of embodiment and movement-based inquiry to describe the body experienced by him or her from within.) All knowledge traditions involve styles of embodiment based on respective metaphysical and epistemological assumptions about reality, mind, and body. The predominant somatic style for Western inquiry – the “disciplined body” (Dolan, 1993) – involves sedentary reflection, audition, vision, and suppression of the investigator’s subjectivity. Contemporary consciousness scholars describe its limitations, calling for “embodied realism” using non-dualistic, embodied methodologies integrating first, second, and third-person stances based on the “aware body” (Dolan, 1993). The proposed project will use a somatic approach, Body-Mind Centering®, offering structured sensory and perceptual experiences to stimulate novel embodied experiences thus encouraging methodological innovation. Faculty from diverse disciplines will couple an individual somatic apprenticeship with shared reading, dialogue, and workshops to explore potential approaches to and impacts of embodied methodologies on scholarly inquiry. This program will culminate in seminars, journal article(s), and a major proposal for longer-term study, developing new methodologies for social and biological sciences which typically rely on detached, mechanistic methodologies for inquiry.

Craig Hassel (Food Science and Nutrition), Principal Investigator

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