Communication and Culture | Gender and Communication
C450 | 1165 | Pezzullo

We cannot take for granted that people know what we mean when we talk
about "the body."  For some, it evokes experiences of illness, pain,
or shame.  For others, it seduces us to indulge in fantasies about
desire, love, or pleasure.  For most, "the body" moves us in different
ways depending upon the context and the manner in which it is

This course is dedicated to considering how, within specific contexts,
"the body" matters to questions of gender, power, and communication.
For example, we will ask: how does the body become marked by language
as a gendered object?  In what ways does the body suggest the limits
of communication?  How do gendered bodies visually articulate power?
How does the body serve as a site of gendered oppression?  Conversely,
how does the body serve as a site of gendered resistance and, thus,

Grounded in a rhetorical perspective, this course aims to engage an
interdisciplinary range of work and to address questions such as those
above through topics including religion, protest, pollution,
sexuality, pain, race, taboo, class, and science.  Students are
encouraged to bring their own relevant questions into the classroom in
order to further broaden and enrich the substance/directions of the

Ideally, students enrolled will have a preliminary background in
gender studies, rhetoric, or both.  More importantly, however, this
course is designed for those who are interested in further challenging
themselves to delve into specific tensions raised by gender politics
in contemporary public culture.  There will be no exams; but, there
are high expectations for participation in class, and the writing
assignments will require rigorous work.

Required Textbooks:

* Mary Douglas (1966)
Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo.
London: Routledge.

* Elaine Scarry (1985)
The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

* Jack Selzer and Sharon Crowley, Eds. (1999)
Rhetorical Bodies.
Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.