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This week’s topic builds on the study of ‘Bodies’ that you have already undertaken in your TSM module. Moving on from a more generalised discussion of historical approaches to the body, in this module we focus on the gendered and racialised body under modern capitalism. Some of the further reading for the TSM module will also help you when we discuss ‘Bodies’ on this module.

Seminar Questions:

How did 'fatness' come to signify immorality?

Assess the racial and gendered history of "fatness" as both a concept and perceived problem.

What kind of ideal body did modernity bring into being?

"Medical discourses on obesity are a social and historical construct." Discuss

Discuss the centrality of concerns about feminine aesthetics to the modern race-making project.

How does Strings argue that the body became "legible" through racial discourse?

"The objectification of black bodies and labour through the slave trade turned black people themselves into the shadow figures of modernity." Discuss

Core reading:

Sabrina Strings, Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia (New York: NYU Press, 2019

Further reading:

Silvia Federici, Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking, and Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism (PM Press/ Kairos, 2020)

Christopher E. Forth, ‘Fat, Desire and Disgust in the Colonial Imagination’ History Workshop Journal 73 (Spring, 2012), 211-239.

Donald M. Lowe , The Body in Late-Capitalist USA (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995)

Jennifer L. Morgan, Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship, and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2021)

Susie Orbach, Bodies (London: Profile, 2009)

Vila, Anne, ‘The Making of the Modern Body’ [essay review], Modern Language Notes 104 (4) (1989): 927-36.

Foucault, Michel, read selections from The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow: ‘The Body of the Condemned,’ ‘Docile Bodies,’ ‘We ‘Other Victorians,’ ‘The Repressive Hypothesis’, ‘The Politics of Health in the Eighteenth Century’ (London, 1984).

Frank, Arthur W., ‘Bringing Bodies Back in: A Decade Review,’ Theory, Culture, Society 7 (1990).

Price, Janet and Schildrick, Margrit (eds.), Feminist Theory and the Body: A Reader (Edinburgh, 1999).

Charlotte Cooper Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement (Bristol: HammerOn Press, 2016)