Living-learning Center | A Cultural History of the Breast
L220 | 2972 | Sarah Stevens


We will explore critically and thoughtfully something we usually do
not talk about--breasts!  What have breasts symbolized, across
cultures and eras?  How have cultural images shifted from the sacred
figure of the nursing Madonna to the silicone breasts of the Playboy
pinup?  What about images in Asia and Africa?  Looking at breasts in
literature, art, and medicine, we will construct a cultural history
of the breast.  Along the way, we will discuss broad themes like the
effects of modernity and industrialization on views of the female
body.  How have fashion, science, and consumer culture impacted views
of the breast?  We will also discuss specific topics, including
depictions of breast cancer.  This class is the place to learn
everything about breasts, from corsets and brassieres, to cosmetic
surgery, to religious iconography, and beyond.  While focusing on one
body part, we will investigate many critical issues of gender,
sexuality, and culture.