embodiment. That is, whether an individual has a body which they are separate from as the body-as-machine model suggests, or whether a person experiences embodiment as being a body and there is no separation. Or indeed whether the experience of embodiment is ambiguous, variable and fluid, affected by events occurring in the body, and the environment outside it.
Through a review of social science research conducted with organ transplantation recipients, it is shown that the identity changes most frequently mentioned are an alteration in gender or age, or preferences for
Using a range of social science methods and drawing on the sociology of the body, biomedicine and technology, Haddow invites readers of ‘Embodiment and everyday cyborgs’ to consider whether they might prefer organs from other humans or non-human animals (known as xenotransplantation), or implantable ‘cybernetic’ technologies to replace their own? In discovering that individuals have a very clear preference for human organs but not for the non-human, Haddow suggests that the inside of our bodies may be more important to our sense of identity than may have previously been thought. Whereas organs from other (once) living bodies can contaminate the body of the recipient (simultaneously altering subjectivity so they inherit traits e.g. gender), cybernetic technology is acclimatised to and becomes part of the body and subjectivity. In organ transplantation the organ has the potential to alter subjectivity – whereas with cybernetic technology it does not alter identity but is incorporated into existing subjectivity. Technologies are clean from previous organic fleshy associations and although they may malfunction or cause infection, they do not alter identity in the way that an organ might. Yet, we are arguably creating a 21st-century identity crisis through an increasing reliance on cybernetic technologies such as implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) creating new forms of ‘un-health’ and a new category of patient called ‘everyday cyborgs’ who have to develop strategies to incorporate device alienation as well as reinserting human agency over ICD activation.
Modernity and technics
Over the 1880 to 1920 period, modern life in Western cities became
exponentially enmeshed with a host of new technologies: automobiles,
express trains, aeroplanes, electrical lighting, electrical conveyances
(tramways, elevators, funiculars, moving sidewalks, etc.), telephone,
wireless, and of course cinema. There were also less public innovations in industrial production and chemistry, in medicine (X-rays,
pharmacology, dentistry, surgery, cosmetics, eyewear), and in destructive technologies of
An enactive reading of the Middle English cycle plays
Eva von Contzen
A cognitive approach to Middle English drama: joint attention
In recent years, the field of cognitive literary studies has gained great currency. Questions range from the cognitive backdrop of literary production and the cognitive engagement and investment of readers, to the representation of mental processes in and through literary texts. Experience is a key term in this trajectory, most often evoked in the context of embodiment. Embodied knowledge is an important aspect of how we experience and make sense of literature
This paper examines how the reconfiguration of embodiment at the end of the nineteenth century provides Charlotte Mew with a powerful trope of disembodiment which she employs to inscribe a new kind of body in her short story, ‘Passed’- a body which allows the expression of lesbian desire. The ‘reconfiguration of embodiment’ discussed in this essay is, more specifically, the result of the emergence of the ‘machinic-human body’ (a precursor to the post-human at this time). This paper discusses how this machinic-human body ‘which is Gothic or ‘abhuman’ as the term is employed by Kelly Hurley in her book, The Gothic Body is linked to Mew‘s use of erasure, silence, death, and out-of-body-experience, and how Mew employs erasure of the printed word, and death of the heterosexual body to encode a new body, with ‘new’ desires. In ‘Passed’, text and body are intimately linked such that within the world of the story erasure of the written word is associated with the erasure of the heterosexual body, and this very erasure enacts an encoding of a homosexual one. At the same time, of course, it is Mew‘s use of print that allows the erasure and encoding that is the work of the story.
a persistent process in the
This can be seen in the
symbolic embodiment of land that has been noted in Voice :
which merges people and their stories, just as their material bodies
will ultimately decompose into the land.
Echoes of events and
Black Women as Surrogates of Liberation in James Baldwin’s
If Beale Street Could Talk
Marquita R. Smith
This essay analyzes how James Baldwin’s late novel If Beale Street
Could Talk represents Black women’s care work in the face of
social death as an example of how Black women act as surrogates for Black
liberation giving birth to a new world and possibilities of freedom for Black
(male) people. Within the politics of Black nationalism, Black women were
affective workers playing a vital role in the (re)creation of heteronormative
family structures that formed the basis of Black liberation cohered by a belief
in the power of patriarchy to make way for communal freedom. This essay
demonstrates how Beale Street’s imagining of freedom
centers not on what Black women do to support themselves or each other, but on
the needs of the community at large, with embodied sacrifice as a presumed
condition of such liberation.
The open road is popularly imagined as both cinematic and male, a space suited to the scope afforded by the cinema and the breadth demanded by the male psyche. However, while these connotations are ingrained within the aesthetics of driving, its kinaesthetics – the articulations between bodies, movement and space – have more in common with television and with stories of women’s desire. Drawing from Iris Marion Young’s theories of gendered embodiment, this article argues that driving, television and female desire are all marked by the same contradictions between movement and stability, and between public and private. It analyses two recent television programmes concerned with women behind the wheel – Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ (Netflix, 2016) and the first two seasons of Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017–present) – to argue that driving on television affords a space through which to negotiate feminine embodiment, agency and desire.
As befitted someone who operated in the tradition of transcendent Jacobinism, the radical infidel Richard Carlile’s affective politics cut across the public-private divide as well as national boundaries in his quest for a politics for pure reason unsullied with feeling. He was conscious of the way in which political and religious authorities legitimated their hegemony by enslaving the mind as a way of enslaving the body, in which some radicals were complicit in their failure to attack organised religion. Carlile challenged this by practising and promoting an embodied affective politics which demystified popular understandings of the passions and prescribed an ascetic regimen that empowered the working classes. Unlike other radicals discussed in this book, he was resistant to the idea that bodies were porous and merged with their environments. As the first section shows, Carlile engaged in a debate about the location of feeling in the body. Far from being an esoteric preoccupation of his that spoke only to his interest in materialism and science, Carlile insisted that the seating of the passions had important political implications. The chapter then moves on to discuss Carlile’s Every Woman’s Book, a book widely known amongst historians of feminism and sex, but not historians of emotion. Carlile’s excursus on this one passion is revealing of his understanding of sex, gender, and the politics of feeling. This chapter develops the concept of ascetic radicalism to underscore the affective basis of Carlile’s problematic quest for ‘pure reason’, focusing on the period in which he was a prominent radical leader, c.1819–1832. Ironically, for someone who rejected the notion that bodies were defined by space, Carlile’s affective politics reached their apotheosis in the prison cell, but for reasons explored in the final section, it began to break down in the early 1830s.