Spring 2019

"The Embodied Self" in American Culture and Society

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-215

Moodle sites: Course  |  Section 01  |  Section 02


Wendy H. Bergoffen (Section 02)
Francis G. Couvares (Section 01)


The course is an interdisciplinary, historically organized study of American perceptions of and attitudes towards the human body in a variety of media, ranging from medical and legal documents to poetry and novels, the visual arts , film, and dance. Among the topics to be discussed are the physical performance of gender; the social construction of the ideal male and female body; health reform movements; athletic achievement as an instrumentalization of the body; commercialization of physical beauty in the fitness and fashion industries; eating disorders as cultural phenomena; the interminable abortion controversy; the equally interminable conflict over pornography and the limits of free speech; and adaptations to the possibility of serious illness and to the certainty of death.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Couvares.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given, in descending orders, to preregistered juniors & senior Anthropology or American Studies majors who attend the first class; other juniors & seniors who attend the first class; first-year & sophomore Anthro or Amer Studies majors.


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020