FAGS3005 Body, Society and Cultures (3 units)
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The body remains one of the most significant sites for the enactment of social power relations and artistic politics. It is hence a vital site for art production, transformation, and critique. Because of the theoretical discussion in psychoanalysis, phenomenology and cognitive science, we have opened up new and old interest in the body in all its concreteness and symbolic values, for example, the studies of performance art and media art in particular.
By acknowledging the multiplicity to the body and embodiment in performance studies, this course begins with the seemingly simple question, "What is a Body?" and introduces reflections on human bodies and their situated cultures as the base of Humanities. It starts from the Chinese and the Western traditional discourses of the body and ends in the examination of the development of these discourses related to contemporary society and cultures. It enhances the understanding of the social significance of the body by examining why human body is essential for social life and interaction. Important and representative body theories will be studied and analysed. Students are directed to review critically these discourses and relate them to everyday lives.
This course considers the body in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural manners, so as to enhance understanding of human bodies in relation to their cultural contexts. It also reflects on body as media represented in particular racial, gendered and sexualized practices that would affect acting performance and its perception. In the light of body theories, the course will work closely with the cases drawn from various traditions and their performing arts.
By the end of the course, students will be able to examine taken-for-granted aspects of the human body and critically reflect on the ways these conceptions reveal their social, cultural and political contexts. Students appreciation of body performance and their practices in acting will also be loaded with critical awareness.
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