History | THE BODY IN EARLY AMERICA
J200 | 2924 | Knott
2:30-4:25P M BH221
Above section open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors only
Above section COAS intensive writing section and also
requires registration is COAS W333
Can only doctors tell us about the body, or do historians have
something to say? Is the body unchanging - a mass of bones, organs,
flesh and hormones encased in skin - or does it have a history? In
recent years, historians have newly explored the history of the body
and used it as a rich way to understand our past. This course examines
the history of the body in America between the sixteenth and early
nineteenth centuries. Topics will include: sexuality and sexual
difference, race, violence (bare knuckle fighting, eye gouging),
slavery, manners, adornment (fashion, tattoos), medicine and pain. We
will ask three kinds of questions: What understandings did Americans
have of their bodies and the bodies of others? What were Americans'
different experiences of their bodies? How do historians use the body
as a source?
This is an intensive writing course. There will be weekly readings of
up to 100 pages. Evaluation will be based on class participation and a
series of short papers.