Gender Studies | Problems in Gender Studies: Transnational Body Modification
G402 | 29295 | Aizura, A

Our bodies are always already modified. How we shape our bodies can
express our deepest feelings about who we are. Body modification can
also represent cultural and subcultural identifications or
expectations based on gender, race, class and sexuality. But what we
do with our bodies is never separate from the politics of of
cultural difference and fluctuating ideas of what is acceptable or
unacceptable, civilized or uncivilized. These ideas are historically
and culturally specific. This course looks at body modification on a
transnational scale to ask how we come to know what
differentiates "mutilation" from "correction". We ask how feminist,
queer and postcolonial theories illuminate these debates, reading
across historical, anthropological, medical and literary texts.
Weekly topics include gender, race and cosmetic surgery; skin
whitening technologies; transnational gender reassignment; surgical
tourism; female genital cutting; piercing, tattooing and
scarification; the cultural politics of hair; and body modification
in the context of transnational feminized labor.