Perspectives on Embodiment: The Intersections of Nature and Culture

Perspectives on Embodiment: The Intersections of Nature and Culture

Perspectives on Embodiment: The Intersections of Nature and Culture

Perspectives on Embodiment: The Intersections of Nature and Culture

Synopsis

Perspectives on Embodiment offers multiple ways of conceptualizing human corporeality. These essays collectively defy arbitrary distinctions between nature and culture and reveal the complex ways in which nature and culture interact to produce embodied subjects.

A central premise of this collection is that a variety of perspectives is needed to illuminate the fluid, ever-changing features of human corporeality. This book not only explores what it means to be an embodied subject, but also encourages speculation about our future bodily incarnations.

Excerpt

Honi Fern Haber, the co-editor of this anthology, died of cancer on December 22, 1995. She was thirty-seven years old. Honi was granted tenure in the Philosophy Department at the University of Colorado, Denver the spring before she died, and a library has been established in the Philosophy Department there in her name. This book is the last work to which her name will be attached, and its publication was very important to her. In fact, this anthology was her idea. She conceived the project during the 1994 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute we both participated in, entitled, “Embodiment: The Intersection between Nature and Culture” at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Communication among members of the Institute was greatly facilitated by an embodiment e-mail list that NEH set up for us. Honi and I continued the friendship we had begun at the Institute on e-mail, and she asked me to co-edit the volume with her. It was through the e-mail list that we learned of the death of one of the guest speakers at the Institute, Professor Samuel Todes (Philosophy, Northwestern University), shortly after the summer was over. I remember our surprise over his death; none of us, including Sam himself, had realized that he was already dying of cancer during those wonderful summer days.

Little did we know, Sam’s death was itself a harbinger of Honi’s s own cancer diagnosis a few months later. At first, and for a long time afterwards, there was hope that Honi’s cancer was treatable. She underwent chemotherapy for many months and even managed to attend The International Association of Philosophy and Literature (IAPL) Conference at Villanova University in May 1995 where, with John Carvalho’s help, we had organized a session for contributors to our volume to present short versions of their papers. When I saw her there, she was her usual buoyant, defiant self, despite the fact that she had lost a substantial amount of weight and was unable to taste the food that she ate. This was because her cancer was located in her throat and neck and her mouth had been scorched by the chemotherapy, leaving her desire for good food intact, but making her unable to enjoy it since everything she ate tasted burnt despite its tantalizing smell. Nonetheless, Honi was jubilant at feeling

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