Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Body and the State - Session One | The New School for Social Research

The New School for Social Research hosted a conference on The Body and the State, and these two videos comprise Session One (also included in the Keynote Address to begin the conference). There are at least four sessions posted now, each with two videos (I believe). Over the next several days I will post the individual sessions.

This is some interesting stuff - the discussions cover a variety of different topics about how the body is conceived in relation to various collective structures (LR in integral speak), including health, disability, media, soldiers, human rights, religion, and citizenship.

Moderated David Van Zandt, President of The New School

Didier Fassin, MD, MPH, James D. Wolfensohn Professor, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study; Director of Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Join us as speakers discuss the body as a human rights arena in which many forces, such as religion, science, media, and the market, struggle for control over policies that control our bodies. We hope to illuminate how the often tacit assumptions about the "normal," "healthy," and "acceptable" body lead to policies which are, at their core, unjust.

And now on with the conference.
The Body and the State - Session I - Part 1

We all have our own ideas about what a "normal," "healthy" body is, but these ideas are neither given nor based on some eternal biological definition. Rather, they reflect many different forces within a culture and they change over time. How do these views influence public policy in different locations? How do social dynamics affect conceptions of maleness and femaleness and how do they differ in different societies?

Religions exert powerful pressure on how the conception of the normal or morally acceptable body is understood. How do images of the normal body differ across religious traditions? Case studies are reviewed on the role of religion in affecting state policy with regard to the body.

Joan's Two Bodies: Was Joan of Arc Killed by the Church or the State and Does it Matter?
• Winnifred F. Sullivan, Member, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study; Associate Professor, Director of the Law and Religion program, University at Buffalo Law School

Ascribing Citizenship on the Muslim Body
• John Bowen, Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St. Louis

Notions of the "healthy," "normal" body often bring with them the imprimatur of science. What role does science play in our understanding of what is normal and what is not? How are these understandings reflected in policy? Does this science-policy interplay differ across cultures?

The Body as a Biological and Genetic Entity
• Elof Axel Carlson, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Stony Brook University

Moderator: Ann Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies, The New School for Social Research

Part One:

The Body and the State - Session I - Part 2

Bodies of Rights and Biomedical Markets
• João Biehl, Professor of Anthropology, Co-director, Program in Global Health and Health Policy, Princeton University

What is the relationship between individual bodies and the body politic? What constitutes the "normal" body of the citizen, and does this vary from country to country? What does the foreigner, the non-citizen, reveal about the body of the citizen? Do existing laws and policies differentially shape certain types of bodies and affect genders and races differently? Why does the health of the citizen matter?

Disability and the Normal Body of the Citizen
• Susan Schweik, Professor, Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities, University of California, Berkeley

Making Willing Bodies: Manufacturing Consent Among Prisoners and Soldiers
• Bernard E. Harcourt, Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

Advertising, film, television, and the internet have profound impacts on our idea of the "normal" body and how it is or should be treated. What is the media's impact on policy with regard to the body? How does this vary across cultures?

Losing Bodies
• Susie Orbach, Visiting Professor, Sociology, London School of Economics

Indian Cinema and the Beautiful Body
• Sumita S. Chakravarty, Associate Professor of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

Moderator: Ann Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies, The New School for Social Research
Part Two:


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