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A Cultural History of the Human Body

6 Volumes

      A Cultural History of The Human Body in Antiquity explores 1,750 years of the history of the West, from Homer to the end of the millennium CE. This span of time includes three major eras of Greek civilization, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empires until its collapse in the 5th century CE and Medieval Europe up to the transition to the High Middle Ages. Key issues for this period include the invention of the nude as a cultural icon, the early development of Western medicine, and formative discourses about the identity and ethical management of the body.

      A Cultural History of the Human Body in Antiquity presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and age, cultural representations and popular beliefs and the self and society.

      The Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities of medieval western Europe conceived of the human body in manifold ways. The body was not a fixed or unmalleable mass of flesh, but an entity that changed its character depending on its age, its interactions with its environment, and its diet. For example, a slave would have been marked by her language, her name, her religion, or even by a sign burned onto her skin, not by her color alone.

      Covering the period from 500 to 1500 and using sources that range across the full spectrum of medieval literary, scientific, medical, and artistic production, this volume explores the rich variety of medieval views of both the real and the metaphorical body.

      A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and disease, cultural representations and popular beliefs, and self and society.

      The Renaissance was a time of immense change in the social, political, economic, intellectual and artistic arenas of the Western world. The cultural construction of the human body occupied a pivotal role in those transformations. The social and cultural meanings of embodiment revolutionized the intellectual, political and emotional ideologies of the period.

      Covering the years from 1400 to 1650, this volume examines the flexible and shifting categories of the body at an unparalleled time of growth in geographical exploration, science, technology and commerce.

      A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Renaissance presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and age, cultural representations and popular beliefs and the self and society.

      The Enlightenment was a time when people began to take stock of their intrinsic worth as individuals. Of course, slaves were still property, servants and apprentices were indentured, daughters "belonged" to fathers and brothers, wives to husbands and paupers were tethered to their parish. But change was in the air as increased population, migration and urbanization began to reshape both national and personal identity.

      The birth of modern society in the Enlightenment demanded a rethinking of the human body in all its forms, from conception to death and beyond. The history of midwives, medics, colonialists, cross-dressers, corpses, vampires, witches, beggars, beauties, body-snatchers, incest and immaculate conceptions - all reveal how the body changed in this age of turbulence and transition.

      A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Age of Empire

      Volume 5

      Editor(s):

      Michael Sappol, Stephen P. Rice

      The “long nineteenth century” was an age of empire and empire builders, of state formation and expansion, and of colonial and imperial wars and conquest throughout most of the world. It was also an age that saw enormous changes in how people gave meaning to and made sense of the human body. Spanning the period from 1800 to 1920, this volume takes up a host of topics in the cultural history of the human body, including the rise of modern medicine and debates about vaccination, the representation of sexual perversity, developments in medical technology and new conceptions of bodily perfection.

      A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Age of Empire presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and disease, cultural representations and popular beliefs, and self and society.

      The human body was revolutionised in the 20th Century. Developments in politics, sexuality, technology, and culture all acted to reshape our understanding of our bodies. The human body in the 21st Century is less fixed than ever before with some theorists now even anticipating the post-human body. Diverse factors have impacted on both the real and the imagined body, including war, contraception, medicine, feminism, gay aesthetics, the rise of celebrity culture, totalitarian political regimes, fashion, AIDS, communication technologies and cosmetic surgery.

      A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Modern Age presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and disease, cultural representations and popular beliefs, and self and society.