Thinking Bodies: Literature, Film, Performance is an undergraduate course taught at Columbia University in Spring 2021.
Throughout the course, students surveyed of ways in which embodiment participates in attaining, producing, and transmitting knowledge. Perspectives on embodiment represented in the course were drawn from feminist scholarship, affect theory, religion, psychoanalysis, and performance studies. Theoretical discussions were paired with a diverse selection of cultural production, ranging from the classics of American, German, and Russian literature, to the less well-known cinematic and performative traditions of former Yugoslavia, Poland, and Japan. Drawing on pertinent historical examples, the topics of the course were linked to current conversations about race, contagion, and virtuality.
Click here to view the complete Course Syllabus.
Through close readings, group work, and collaborative writing tasks, students synthesized different modes of thinking about, portraying, and experiencing the body.
At the end of the semester, they were asked to develop their insights into the course topics by creating cross-contextual and cross-disciplinary connections. Final submissions included a variety of creative media, including film, dance, photography, creative writing, costume design, and sound.
Marking the completion of a fulfilling semester of learning, this website showcases a selection of works that came out of the class.