Sociology 448: Sociology of the
University of Notre Dame
Thought must live with and
be inspired with the life of the body.
-Henry David Thoreau
The human body, that extraordinary organic basis of the self and its sign-making abilities, remains very much present in human communication and culture. Though many of our cognitive beliefs may have been developed in civilized societies and their cultural conventions, the self reaches deep into the human body, and that body was refined over many tens of thousands of years of hunter-gatherer life, and developed over an even longer period of hominid, primate, and mammalian evolution.
This course aims to focus directly on the organic human body itself as a center
of self and society. We will explore a variety of readings related to the human body as organic matrix of meaning, and that reveal bodily bases of social life, such as Ashley Montagu’s Touching: On the Significance of Skin, and issues of human development. We will also explore the body as a source of self-originated experience through class "practice" sessions, and ways contemporary techno-culture seems to seek to displace bodily-based experience. We will be meeting in a room in the gym.
This will be the second time for this course, so it will be partly experimental. This means that you will be part of shaping the course for the future. I hope this course will be a rich learning experience and tons of fun too!
Sociology 448: Sociology of the Body
Tuesdays - Thursdays at 12:30-1:45 TENTATIVE OUTLINE, subject to change!
Tuesday, 1/13 Introduction
Thursday, 1/15 Jared Diamond, “The Great Leap Forward,” “Road Maps of the Apes,”86-7.
Heather Pringle, “New Women of the Ice Age”
Tuesday, 1/20 Montagu, Touching, Pref., Ch.1:
The Mind of the Skin, 1-46
Thursday, 1/22 Montagu, Ch. 2: The Womb of Time, 47-68 Practicum: Sensorium
Tuesday, 1/27 Tom Brown Jr. Introductions, &
“The Four Basic Elements of Meditation,” in Awakening Spirits; “The Eye
of the Tracker” Case Files of the Tracker; pp. 228-232
Thurs., 1/29 Daniel Quinn, from Ishmael, Ch9: 233-251
Tuesday, Feb/3 Paul Shepard, “Wildness and Wilderness”
Thursday, 2/5 Linda Holler, Ch.1: “Autistic Touch: Body as Prison” book: 14-59
Optional: Antonio Damasio, Ch. 5, “The Organism and the Object” 178f Practicum
Tuesday, 2/10 Holler, from “Disembodied Touch:
Body as Object” 80-91
Thursday, 2/12 Montagu, Ch. 3: Breastfeeding, 69-95
Tuesday, 2/17 E. Melanie Dupuis, “The Body and
the Country: A Political Ecology of Consumption.”
Thursday, 2/19 Susan Bordo, “Hunger as Ideology”
Tuesday, 2/24 Montagu, Ch. 4: Tender, Loving
Thursday, 2/26 Montagu, Ch. 5: Skin and Sex, 204-236; Natalie Angier, “Bonobo Society: Amicable, Amorous, and Run by Females.”
Tuesday, March 2 Holler, Ch. 3: Sadistic and Pornographic
Touch: Body as Other
Thursday, 3/4 Holler, Ch 4: Masochistic and Ascetic Touch: Body as Instrument
(Saturday March 6 through Sunday, March 14)
Tuesday, 3/16 Montagu, Ch. 7: Culture and Contact,
293-392; Envoi & Appendix: Therapeutic Touch 401-411
Thursday, 3/18 Holler, Ch.5: Mindful Touch: Body as Awareness”
Tuesday, 3/23 Galen Crantz “How Chairs Evolved” 93-113
Thursday, 3/25 Practicum: Throwing Pottery
Tuesday, 3/30 Edith Turner with William Blodgett,
Singleton Kahona, and Fidelia Benwa. “The Hunter’s Conference: The Significance
of the Hunter,” in Experiencing Ritual: A New Interpretation of African
Thursday, 4/1 Practicum: Rhythm, Ritual, & African Drumming
Tuesday, 4/6 David Abram, “In the Landscape of
Language,” in The Spell of the Sensuous. 124-145. Practicum
Thursday, 4/8 Oliver Sachs “Prodigies,” from An Anthropologist on Mars. 146-177. Practicum: Rhythm, Ritual, and Drumming
EASTER HOLIDAY (Friday April 9 through Monday, April 12)
Tuesday, 4/13 Eugene Halton, “Brain Suck” 264f
Thursday, 4/15 Eugene Halton, “The Reality of Dreaming,” 196-206 Practicum: Breathing
Tuesday, 4/20 Practicum:
Soft Body Movement
Thursday, 4/22 David Lavery, “Departure of the Body Snatchers: or, the Confessions of a Carbon Chauvinist,” 207f
Tuesday, 4/27 Summary, Reports, etc.
(Study Days, 4-29/5-2, Thursday-Sunday ) (Finals, May 3 - 7, Monday-Friday)
Ashley Montagu, Touching: On the Human Significance of Skin. New York: Harper, 1978.
Linda Holler Erotic Morality: The Role of Touch in Moral Agency. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002.
Course packet or handouts:
Jared Diamond, “The Great Leap Forward,” The Third Chimpanzee. New York: Harpercollins, 1992: 32-57.
Associated Press, “Road Maps of the Apes,” The New York Times, Feb. 17, 1998, 86-7.
Heather Pringle, “New Women of the Ice Age,” Discover, April, 1998, 162-170.
Tom Brown Jr. Selections from Awakening Spirits New York: Berkley, 1994. Case Files of the Tracker, 2003.
Paul Shepard, “Wildness and Wilderness” Coming Home to the Pleistocene. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998.
E. Melanie Dupuis, “The Body and the Country: A Political Ecology of Consumption.” In New Forms of Consumption.
Edited by Mark Gottdeiner, Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham, MD, 2000: 131-152.
Susan Bordo, “Hunger as Ideology,”in Eating Culture. Edited by Ronald Scapp & Brian Seitz. Albany: SUNY Press, 1998.
Natalie Angier, “Bonobo Society: Amicable, Amorous, and Run by Females,” New York Times, April 22, 1997, 79-81.
Michel Rouche, “Body and Heart,” A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium. Edited by Paul Veyne. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1987: 453-483.
Galen Crantz “How Chairs Evolved,”from The Chair. New York: Norton, 1998.
Edith Turner with William Blodgett, Singleton Kahona, and Fidelia Benwa. “The Hunter’s Conference: The Significance of
the Hunter,” in Experiencing Ritual: A New Interpretation of African Healing. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992: 108-124.
David Abram, “In the Landscape of Language,” in The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.
Oliver Sachs “Prodigies,” from An Anthropologist on Mars. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1995: 188-243.
Antonio Damasio, Ch. 5, “The Organism and the Object,” The Feeling of What Happens. 133-167.
Eugene Halton, “The Reality of Dreaming,” Theory, Culture, and Society,9(3): 119-39. “Brain Suck,” New Forms of Consumption. Edited by Mark Gottdeiner. Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.
David Lavery, “Departure of the Body Snatchers: or, the Confessions of a Carbon Chauvinist,” in Late for the Sky: The
Mentality of the Space Age, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992: 61-100.
Daniel Quinn. Ishmael.