Body Parts: Critical Explorations in Corporeality

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In many forms of discourse, specific parts of the human anatomy may signify, or act as a substitute for, the whole body/person: the presence of a large gut may render a man effeminate or represent someone who has lost control of his appetites; visible muscles indicate strength of body, but also constitution or will; a hard penis indicates a male body in a state of perfection. In this volume, scholars from a variety of historical and cultural studies disciplines examine scientific, medical, popular, and literary ...

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Overview

In many forms of discourse, specific parts of the human anatomy may signify, or act as a substitute for, the whole body/person: the presence of a large gut may render a man effeminate or represent someone who has lost control of his appetites; visible muscles indicate strength of body, but also constitution or will; a hard penis indicates a male body in a state of perfection. In this volume, scholars from a variety of historical and cultural studies disciplines examine scientific, medical, popular, and literary texts, paying special attention to the different strategies employed in order to establish authority over the body through the management of a single part. By considering body parts that are usually ignored by scholars - the skin, blood, the pelvis, the hair - the essays in this volume render the idea of a single, coherent body untenable by demonstrating that the body is not a transhistorical entity, but rather, deeply fragmented and fundamentally situated in a number of different contexts.

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Editorial Reviews

W. F. Bynum
This cosmopolitan collection starts from a simple premise: that our bodies are made up of many parts. By concentrating on the parts rather than simply the whole, the authors expose many fascinating nuances of medical, legal, gender and social history and materially advance the historiography of the body. It deserves a wide readership.
Joanna Bourke
This book is an inspiring, open-mouth wonder. The intimate body—penis and pelvis, breast and bum—are dissected in delightful historical detail. A must-read for anyone curious about bodies.
D.M. Vyleta
This collection of essays takes the body apart in order to inquire into its every nook and cranny. The result is a visceral journey that charts our complex relationship to our own physicality. Fascinating and informative.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739109335
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher E. Forth is Reader in History at Australian National University.Ivan Crozier lectures in Sociology of Science at the Science Studies Unit, University of Edinburgh.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Parts, Wholes, and People Part 2 Part I: Classifying Chapter 3 Blood Will Tell: The Vascular System and Criminal Dangerousness Chapter 4 Bums in the Time of Cholera: Sex, Sodomy, and Representations of the Fundament Chapter 5 All the Appearances Were Perfectly Natural: The Anus of the Sodomite in Nineteenth-Century Medical Discourse Chapter 6 The Primitive Pelvis: The Role of Racial Folklore in Obstetrics and Gynecology during the Twentieth-Century Chapter 7 Hairy Heine, or the Braiding of Gender and Ethnic Difference Chapter 8 The Tears of Lacteros: Integrating the Meanings of the Human Breast Chapter 9 Enlightened Hands: Managing Dexterity in British Medicine and Manufactures, 1760-1800 Part 10 Part II: Constructing Chapter 11 Potential Space, Potential Sex: The Value of the Vagina in Transsexual Autobiographies Chapter 12 Phallic Performance: Phalloplasty and the Techniques of Sex Chapter 13 Guts and Manhood: The Cultre of the Abdomen in Modern France Chapter 14 From Pieces to Whole: The Sexualization of Muscles in Postwar Bodybuilding Chapter 15 Working out the Body's Boundaries: Physiological, Aesthetic, and Psychic Dimensions of the Skin in German Nudism, 1890-1930 Chapter 16 I Will Kill Myself ... if I have to Keep My Fat Calves!: Legs and Cosmetic Surgery in Paris in 1926

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