B CUSP 104
Examines an important social issue such as ecology, art, political change, the power of media, educational reform, or the role of science in contemporary culture through interdisciplinary investigation, and the lens of the visual, literary, and performing arts. Offered: A.
A Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2006 study found that 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed. What do body modifications whether voluntary or involuntary tell us about the corporal and the cultural and social meanings we attach to it? This class will use tattooing and scaring as a vehicle to get at the cultural and social power of the physical body in order to explore and challenge conceptions of “normal.” We will also investigate how body modifications intersect with ideas of impairments to delve deeply into how race, class, gender, and sexuality get constructed and reproduced by notions of “damaged bodies.” Using ideas of physical impairments we will examine social, cultural and political projects like eugenics that with an agenda of better breeding influenced racialization in the United States and abroad in profound and long lasting ways. Drawing on analytical performance practice shaped by performance theory, critical race theory and ethnography, we will examine the facts and fictions in the work of performance artists, scholars and documentary filmmakers who take up questions of the body and its politics. The course constitutes an introduction to critical race theory and performance theory and practice. At the end of this course, students will begin to understand racialization and how it is articulated in the physical body. They will also become knowledgeable and conformable with performance art and practice.
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