2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Bodies: Medical and Literary

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Sara Huntington librarianship, Bill Arney sociology

Fields of Study: health, history, philosophy of science, sociology and writing

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10033 (16) Fr; 10035 (16) So - Sr  

Winter: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 20033 (16) Fr; 20034 (16) So - Sr  Conditions Students should consult with faculty and continuing students prior to registration.  

Credits: 16(F); 16(W)

Class Standing: Freshmen - Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmenFreshmen - Senior

Offered During: Day


Living is the job I want to teach.... To live is not to breathe; it is to act; it is to make use of our organs, our senses, our faculties, of all the parts of ourselves which give us the sentiment of our existence. The man who has lived the most is not he who has counted the most years but he who has most felt life.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, 1762

But I'm gonna try to make sense and tell the truth, else what's the f---ing use? Ain' enough lies and s--- out there already?
Sapphire, Push

We ground our studies in representations of the body, medical and literary. Our aim is the recovery of common sense.

Fall quarter will be devoted to the medicalized body, which is represented through statistics, specialized imaging technologies, and myriad tests. We will study the effects of people being taught to think of living in terms of "risk factors," and the effects of mapping ourselves onto grids of probabilities instead of, for example, paying attention to one's body. As a group, we will pursue the medicalized body through case studies: the recent revision of recommendations on screening for breast cancer; and Huntington's Chorea, a neurodegenerative disease that can be diagnosed with a definitive genetic test and that, as such, presents a human dilemma, extending beyond medical ways of knowing and being. We will read critiques of "gene talk," the way "genes" have "reshaped not only political, social, or medical concepts, but the very perception of the self," as the German historians of medicine, Barbara Duden and Silja Samerski, put it. Throughout the quarter, we will pursue Rob Crawford's argument that "health" has become the modern locus for one's understanding of the moral self. (Just think about the commonplace, "I've been pretty good. I'm eating better, exercising; I've kept my cholesterol down..."). This quarter will introduce students to library research, compositional rhetoric, scientific logic, basic topics in the philosophy of science, the history of medicine, and socio-historical critiques of modern scientific medicine. Each student will complete an independent project on a medical/biological topic of personal concern, resisting the urge to write a fair and balanced research paper and, instead, producing a legitimate piece of writing.

Winter quarter will be devoted to satire as a literary form that focuses relentlessly on the messy reality and moral presence of the body. While students are immersed in the rhetorical strategies employed by canonical masters such as Jonathan Swift, we will investigate the methods of more contemporary works- The Yes Men and Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno-asking: how is the satiric attack embodied? As we examine the ways in which satire interrupts human folly, we share the possibility of making room for common sense. By producing satires of our own, we will locate the body-our own more or less lively lumps of flesh-not in a professional scientific or pedagogic discourse but in a common lot. Authors like Ivan Illich, Martin Buber, Martha Nussbaum, Michel Foucault, H.H. the Dalai Lama, Wendell Berry will complement our explorations in satire and will assist in our search for the story that binds us in a moral order that makes us human. Again, students will pursue a significant independent project, a satire, and should be prepared to push the boundaries of their own depravity, all for the sake of becoming more moral and more whole, more human.

The program will involve contemplative practices- lectio, walking meditations-and students may decide to enroll in an extracurricular weekly yoga class offered only to members of this program. The yoga class is not required, but if you choose to enroll a fee will be payable to the instructor.

Maximum Enrollment: 36

Required Fees: Fall/Winter $40 (optional) for yoga instruction

Preparatory for studies or careers in: compositional rhetoric, philosophy of science, history of medicine, independent research, satire, humanities and social sciences, writing, education, and medicine.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
December 23rd, 2009 New program added.