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THINK 48: Reading the Body: How Medicine and Culture Define the Self

How have our perceptions of what is considered normal/abnormal; beautiful/ugly; infected/uninfected changed over time? How do these changing medical and cultural representations of the body reflect larger societal shifts? How does illness change our perceptions of our bodies and our identities? Viewed through the lens of medicine, the body is a text that offers clues to health and illness, yet clinical readings are never entirely objective. Culture informs and distorts how we discern, accept, reject, and analyze our bodies. Looking at literary, medical, ethical, and anthropological texts, we ask how representations of the body affects the way we experience illness, embody gender and racial identities, and understand our rights (or lack of rights) to control our own bodies. We will critically examine our perceptions about the body and debate some of the most complex and sensitive issues surrounding the body, from the ethics of medical research trials to end of life decisions.
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ED | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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