Self, Citizenship, and Surveillance: Reading the Body in Popular Culture

The body identifies us, but what identifies the body? How do prevailing discourses of race, gender, sexuality, ability, health and wellness, and technology shape the way we see bodies—whether our own, or the bodies of others? Through an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on different perspectives including history, psychology, biology, literature, anthropology, and aesthetics, this course will consider how cultural influences shape attitudes towards the body. By engaging theoretically with media representations from Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills to Netflix’s Black Mirror, this course will foster opportunities for students to consider the ways that the body is used to define and regulate the individual self and the self in society. Along the way, you will learn how a variety of academic disciplines intersect and inform each other, and cultivate the skills needed to find more of these connections for yourself. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.

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