University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Curriculum Associated with the University Symposium, Spring 2009

The following courses are associated with the University Symposium on Body & Knowing: Perception & Action; Cultural Histories of HealingOn Human NaturePragmatismChemical Medicine in Renaissance CultureBody, Soul, and Spirit in Medieval and Renaissance European MedicineHistory of the BodyLife for Sale; and The Body Acoustic.

Perception & Action

KIN 8211
Tuesdays, 3:00 P.M. – 05:30 p.m.
1701 University 206
Instructor: Thomas A. Stoffregen

Cultural Histories of Healing

ANTH 4075
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 1:25 – 02:15 p.m.
Blegin 135
Instructor: Jean M. Langford

How are healing practices embroiled in colonial and postcolonial encounters? What are the stakes involved in defining a healing practice as belonging to a certain cultural group? What are the connections between medical perception and historically contingent orientations toward language, social life and the body? To explore such questions we draw on ethnographies and histories of modern Euro-American medicine (biomedicine), classical Asian healing practices (Ayurveda and Chinese medicine), and trance-based or “shamanic” healing practices. We consider the legacy of ancient Greek medicine and its divergence from ancient Chinese medicine, the rise of an anatomically based medicine in Europe; the colonial dissemination of biomedicine; the refashioning of local healing practices in postcolonial contexts; the micropolitics of biomedical knowledge (from dominant metaphors of medicine to the social construction of disease categories); the relationship of medicine to marginality and injustice; and the transnational market in indigenous healing.

On Human Nature

CSCL 3910, ANTH 3980
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Folwell 218
Instructor: Harvey Sarles

Human Nature: What is the human? What is “not-human,” what differences (and similarities) between us and other species? How we think about and explore the human is likely the base and foundation of all of our being and ideas. “Man is the measure of all things” — said Protagoras. Yet the nature of the human — the “measurer” of all things — remains unclear, more vague than we usually think. Our ways of depicting the human are many, but our ways of thinking about ourselves are “stuck” in realms of mostly ancient ideas. We fix our attention on very few forms of explanation for how we are and “should be.” Rather than actually studying the human face and body, for example, we focus on ideas of how humans are presumed to be “unique”: claimed to be our “mind” or “brain” and “language” and “thought” — or our “souls” in religious contexts. Still, our bodies are thought to be similar — of the same “stuff” — as other species.


CSCL 5910, CL 5910, CSDS 5910, ANTH 5980
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30 – 03:45 p.m.
Nicholson 355
Instructor: Harvey Sarles

Focuses on the work of John Dewey and G.H. Mead – especially concerning bodies-in-interaction.

Chemical Medicine in Renaissance Culture

HMED 8220
Wednesdays, 3:30 – 05:30 p.m.
Room TBA
Instructor: Jole Shackelford

Body, Soul, and Spirit in Medieval and Renaissance European Medicine

HMED 3065-001, MEST 3610-001, HIST 3900-001
Tuesdays, Thursdays, 2:30 – 03:45 p.m.
Rapson 43
Instructor: Jole Shackelford

As a nation and as individuals we are often preoccupied with our physical self, our appearance, our health, our pleasures, and our material possessions. Our modern identity crises are moral as well as legal, physical as well as psychological, but are often framed in terms of scientific measures that determine the health and viability of the mind and body. But for the medieval European Christian, the mind and body were necessarily viewed in a spiritual as well as a corporate context – it made no sense whatsoever to think of the health of the body apart from the health of the soul, or the life of the individual body apart from the life of the communal body. During this semester we will examine how medieval and Renaissance European medical writers understood the body, soul, and spirit and how these medical conceptions affected extra-medical concerns.

History of the Body

HIST 3960-005, GWSS 4190-001
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 3 credits
Rapson 47
Instructor: Regina Kunzel

Does the body have a history? In reflecting upon new scholarship on the body from a range of disciplines, this course challenges assumptions about what we take to be deeply natural and stable over time and space – our bodily selves. We will read work that addresses the body as a subject of historical research and interpretation, paying particular attention to the constitution of the body in relation to historical configurations of sex, gender, and sexuality; race; notions of (dis)ability, normalcy, and fitness; the ethnographic display of bodies; body modification; and discipline and surveillance.

Life for Sale: Global Debates on Environment, Science, and Society

GLOS 3305
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30 – 3:45 P.M., 3 credits
Carlson School 1-132
Instructors: Susan L. Craddock, Rachel Schurman

This course examines some of the most hotly debated topics in biomedicine, the sciences, and the environment today. We will look at issues such as the patenting of plant, animal, and human genes and cells, vaccine trials, genetically modified organisms, environmental waste, new reproductive technologies, commerce in body parts, genetic research, global warming, and more from the perspective of what makes these issues controversial, who benefits and who does not, who determines the direction scientific and medical research takes, how these topics are presented to society, and what is their larger impact on social thinking and practices.

The Body Acoustic

COLA 3950-003, ARCH 3250-004, 2 credits
Saturdays, 10 am – 6 pm and Thursdays, 6 – 8 pm, 1/24 to 2/12
Rapson 13
Instructors: Dana Reitz and Leslie Van Duzer

The Body Acoustic aims to heighten awareness of the reciprocal relationship between the built environment and our senses. As with sound and light, distances, height, volume, surfaces, angles/curves and a symmetries all affect one’s movement through space; one’s movement, in disciplines of architecture, design, visual and movement-based art. The Body Acoustic provides an ideal opportunity for student from all of these disciplines to engage in inter-and trans-disciplinary research and practice. This course will allow students to study the physical sense of place in three major cultural institutions in Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, Guthrie Theater and Minneapolis Institute of Art. Saturday classes will be held in various locations, with the first meeting (1/24) at the Walker Art Center. Thursday class will be in Rapson Hall. An additional $50 workshop fee for museum entry fees, tours and lunches will be collected from each student. Open to all students no previous dance/art/music/theater/design experience necessary.

To register, go to the class schedule. More information can be found on the course guide or from the individual departments or instructors.

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