603820 Docile Bodies: History and Theory of the Human Body

summer semester 2021 | Last update: 01.03.2021 Place course on memo list
Docile Bodies: History and Theory of the Human Body
VO 2
every 2 weeks

Understanding the connections between the history of education and the history of the body and explaining them theoretically by example.     

The focus of the lecture is the unbounded, knowing, disciplined, aching, graceful, finite body of human beings and thus a genuinely anthropological question, which is dealt with from a historical-systematic perspective. It starts with the French philosopher Michel Foucault, who analyzed the 'iscovery of the body as an object of power in the 18th century. In doing so, he shows that this power traces back to René Descartes' linkage of a 'body machine' that can be dismantled and then, with procedures applied in institutions such as the school, the military, or the clinic, produces that 'taught body' that is characteristic of modernity. This is understood to mean bodies as objects that can be manipulated and optimized. However, the lecture does not stop there, but includes the strategies, tactics, practices and tricks that human bodies use in order to resist these procedures of docility, to withdraw from them at least selectively, in order not to be completely appropriated, determined and used. Surprisingly, other forms of "docility" emerge, which are based on the principle of the unavailability of the living and are not willing to give up their stubbornness. What is meant by this is demonstrated and controversially discussed on the basis of examples, above all from nature and extreme sports as well as from the world of the "human being".      

Lecture, examples, commentary, discussion.

Written exam, online.  

A small selection in advance and a comprehensive bibliography including some texts will be provided on Olat: 

- Foucault, Michel (1977): Überwachen und Strafen. Die Geburt des Gefängnisses. suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft: FaM. (im franz. Original 1975), insbes. Kap. III.

- Kamper, Dietmar/Wulf, Christoph (Hrsg.) (1989): Transfigurationen des Körpers. Spuren der Gewalt in der Geschichte. D. Reimer: Berlin.

- Bilstein, Johannes/Brumlik, Micha (Hrsg.) (2013): Die Bildung des Körpers. Beltz Juventa: Weinheim/Basel.

- Paragrana. Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie. Band 25 (2016), Heft 1 Körperwissen: Transfer und Innovation und hier sämtliche Beiträge wie z.B. von Hirschauer, Kogge, Koch usw.  


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