Transforming Diverse Bodies and Identities in American Culture

Mark Schuster (American Studies; Dean for Graduate Student Life)

The American body has been transformed over time physically, socially, culturally, and politically. This seminar examines negotiated and diverse identities, “covering and passing” bodies through the lens of gender, sexuality, race, socioeconomic class, ability, and more. Social media, film, art, music, fashion, and pop culture will be used to examine sites and spaces of the body. Diverse methodology of interdisciplinary research, journal articles, ethnographies and book chapters will be used to interrogate recent transformations of bodies and identities in American culture. The evolving, fluid, and intersecting body fascism, bodies at war, smashing bodies (NASCAR and MMA), collision sports, head injuries, and reassembled (prosthetics and cyborg) bodies will be considered. The most recent research redefining the “healthy” and “spoiled” bodies will be examined critically. Cyber technology, robotics, and fantasy will be examined through the influence of Barbie Dolls, action figures, Marvel comics, Comic Con, Trekkies, J.K. Rowling, E.L. James to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 82 index 09998