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Semester 1

Introduction to Body Studies (DESI08151)







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**Please note that Design courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any Design course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the Design department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

The course will introduce undergraduate students to a range of contemporary critical theories and debates on the body and identity. We will explore the body as a site on which social constructions of difference are inscribed, as well as how these constructions can be challenged and resisted. Bodies are regulated and self-regulated, marginalised, oppressed, erased, owned, visualised, textualised and designed. The body is not isolated; rather, it extends and connects with other bodies, practices, human and non-human entities, and technologies. The course will also examine the ways in which digital developments are reshaping our understanding of our bodies and question what it means to be human.

Course Description

This course places the human body at the centre of our everyday experience and approaches it from a wide range of theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives, including feminist studies, gender studies, post-modernism, post-humanism, medical humanities, disability studies, visual culture, cultural theory and philosophy. The course is concerned with embodiment, (mis)representation, performance, (in)visibility and lived experience, the themes that cross over in an emerging interdisciplinary field of body studies. It invites students to rethink what it means to be and to have a body, and to reimagine the body's limits, boundaries and capacities from social, philosophical and design perspectives. The course will explore how the body informs design and making processes (through somatic senses, perceptual possibilities, and cultural and social understandings) and how designers and users engage with designs. We will also examine how media reshape our knowledge and interpretation of the body and how we perceive power, ideology and social and cultural processes. All the course sessions will focus on interdisciplinary perspectives and questions around the relationship between the body, identity, media and technology. Specific elements of the course content may vary from year to year, but topics covered by the course will normally include some or all of the following: 1. Sentient body - a lived, subjective experience of the body; embodiment; 2. Visualised body - (mis)representations of gender, race, class, disability; 3. Mediated body - performative bodies; bodies transformed by media; 4. Clothed and adorned body - wearables; painted bodies; cultural perceptions of beauty; 5. Augmented body - prosthetic and digitalised bodies; 6. Connected body - the body that extends and connects to other bodies, practices, human and non-human entities and technologies.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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