As the recent ‘asylum seekers’ debate has shown again and again, the human body in its mobility is a source of multiple anxieties. Often, ‘dangerous’ corporealities will be conceptualized as bodies of ‘others’: of other ethnicities, genders, classes, etc.; as ill bodies, dis-abled bodies. Cultural practices that these bodies often inspire have a material, spatial dimension: separation, imprisonment, and surveillance are supposed to ‘heal’ the body, the individual, the social group and the society. The discourse of healing is of course highly ideological and has often been misused for various political reasons (e.g. the isolation of the mentally ill in the 19th century as an attempt to ‘heal’ Britain and the human race). In this seminar, students will become acquainted with Body and Space Theories. They will develop a comparative (UK/Austria), historically founded perspective on specific cultural practices and will learn to recognize and use them in their daily lives and future work.
In this blocked course students will 1) discuss assigned theoretical, historical, critical readings, 2) become acquainted with specific UK cultural practices, 3) as a group, identify, observe, compare and evaluate a particular cultural practice set in Vienna, 4) reflect and comment on what they have learned in their practical group work (a joint short photo-essay).