Anthropology of the Body

lantr2050  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

Anthropology of the Body
4 credits
22.5 h
Vuillemenot Anne-Marie;
Main themes
An anthropology of the body overlaps with other fields of research such as body language, the anthropology of space, dance (amongst others medical or religious). This introductory course will follow three research avenues 1. theoretical reflection on personhood and the bodily manipulations it implies in the socialization of the younger members of a group 2. the impact of globalization on the body and the spread of certain bodily techniques 3. the space-time context surrounding these techniques in particular in every day life, in extraordinary set-tings and in rites

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Starting with Mauss's founding text on " bodily technics " the student is introduced to recent anthropological work on the body. Styled by Leenhardt at a "white man's invention", the body is far from being a universal concept. First then the different constitutive parts of personhood and especially that formed by the body will be analysed in western history and from a contemporary cross cultural angle with case studies from central Asia, Europe, the Islamic world (North Africa and the Near East), America (Brazil and USA). Knowledge acquired will enable the student to discover and observe bodily techniques and the uses to which the body is put in mod-ern societies and consequently question critically from a socio-anthropological perspective, the different "bod-ies" composing contemporary cultures

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
Issues will be studied in the light of french and anglosaxon anthropological studies of the body as well as a lengthy field experience in central Asia and Europe, in particular: - surveys conducted as a physiotherapist in Belgium - studies carried out from 1992 onwards in Central Asia amongst nomads relative to the links between the body, habitat and the world - enquiries in the same region on ancestral therapy and islamized shamanism Pedagogy will be inductive and interactive; each session will consist of two lectures presenting ethnographic data, furnishing a theoretical synthesis and followed by discussion Ethnographic photos and films will be shown
Other information
For students other than those doing the Master in Anthropology, the evaluation will take the form of a personal essay, based on readings and a concrete case arising from the stu-dents's experiences, related to the central theme of the course.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Anthropology

Master [120] in Sociology

Master [60] in Sociology and Anthropology