The Body (Spr) (L4118B)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module addresses a core theoretical question of materiality versus constructionism of the body. You’ll investigate this through a range of substantive case studies, designed to provoke debate and discussion.

You will have the opportunity to explore a range of controversial and intriguing questions that render the body amenable to social scientific analysis. There is an international focus across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

We will consider:

  • debates about bodily materiality and performativity, drawing on authors such as Goffman, Bourdieu, Fanon, Arendt, Butler and Puar
  • state regulation of bodies deemed undesirable (asylum seekers/refugees/non-binary) through the use of torture and maiming
  • the gendered aspects of regulating bodies, such as war rape, torture, nationalism/populism and the sexing of the nation
  • the vulnerability of the body to physical decay and abuse
  • attempts to retake control of the way the body has been subjected to control by states
  • societal debates and activism around identity
  • the rise of rights claims around embodiment.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: