PHIL 3017 The Body in Culture

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 101009

Coordinator Penelope Rossiter Opens in new window

Description This subject introduces students to key theorists, concepts, and debates in socio-cultural studies of embodiment. The first module introduces the field of study and explores influential perspectives on bodies as biocultural and social. The subject explores topics such as the social brain, culture and the senses, the modern 'civilised' body, sexed and racialised bodies, ableism and bodily diversity. It will demonstrate how even colonialism, multiculturalism and socio-economic inequalities are lived on the skin, in the body and through the senses. The second module explores current debates and body politics and the content is determined in collaboration with enrolled students. The topics can be as diverse as digital self-tracking; 'fat wars'; race and cosmetic surgery; bodies as commodities, and; sexual difference and sport.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Studies in Human Society, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Equivalent Subjects LGYC 1291 - Gender Culture and the Body LGYA 0293 - The Body in Culture


Successful completion of 60 credit points of study in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Explain key concepts in the study of the body in culture.
  2. Respond in an informed and critical way to contemporary debates about body politics.
  3. Research, explain, and facilitate discussion of a current debate or social problem concerning the body.
  4. Collaborate with others on a group project.

Subject Content

Biology and culture: dualism and critiques of dualism
Brains: biocultural, social and plastic
The lived body: surfaces and depths
Skin and the bounded body: power, representation and experience
The modern body and its others: the civilised, uncivilised, disciplined, grotesque and carnivalesque
Culture and multisensory embodiment
Diverse bodies, ableism and the social model of disability
Contemporary debates and body politics


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Portfolio: Concepts Portfolio 1250 words (5 x 250 words) 25 N Individual
Applied Project: Group Research Project with individually assessable components. Project includes research, presentation, discussion facilitation (20%), and (individual) written report (30%) Group part: Presentation - 15 minutes, Discussion facilitation - 30 minutes, Wrap-up - 5 minutes / Individual part: Report - 1500 words 50 N Both (Individual & Group)
Reflection: Written responses to the research questions devised and explored in the Applied Projects 1200 (3 X 400) words 25 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Subject Reader