Examining a wide range of archaeological data, and using it to explore issues such as the sexual body, mind/body dualism, body modification, and magical practices, Lynn Meskell and Rosemary Joyce offer a new approach to the Ancient Egyptian and Mayan understanding of embodiment. Drawing on insights from feminist theory, art history, phenomenology, anthropology and psychoanalysis, the book takes bodily materiality as a crucial starting point to the understanding and formation of self in any society, and sheds new light on Ancient Egyptian and Maya cultures. The book shows how a comparative project can open up new lines of inquiry by raising questions about accepted assumptions as the authors draw attention to the long-term histories and specificities of embodiment, and make the case for the importance of ancient materials for contemporary theorization of the body. For students new to the subject, and scholars already familiar with it, this will offer fresh and exciting insights into these ancient cultures.
The Neoplatonists have a perfectionist view of freedom: an entity is free to the extent that it succeeds in making itself good. Free entities are wholly in control of themselves--they are self-determining, self-constituting, and self-knowing. Neoplatonist philosophers argue that such freedom is only possible for non-bodily things. The human soul is free insofar as it rises above bodily things and engages in intellection, but when it turns its desires to bodily things, it is drawn under the sway of fate and becomes enslaved. Ursula Coope discusses this notion of freedom and its relation to questions about responsibility. She explains the important role of notions of self-reflexivity in Neoplatonist accounts of both freedom and responsibility. In Part I, Coope sets out the puzzles Neoplatonist philosophers face about freedom and responsibility and explains how these puzzles arise from earlier discussions. Part II explores the metaphysical underpinnings of the Neoplatonist notion of freedom (concentrating especially on the views of Plotinus and Proclus). In what sense, if any, is the ultimate first principle of everything (the One) free? If everything else is under this ultimate first principle, how can anything other than the One be free? What is the connection between freedom and nonbodiliness? Finally, Coope considers in Part III questions about responsibility, arising from this perfectionist view of freedom. Why are human beings responsible for their behaviour, in a way that other animals are not? If we are enslaved when we act viciously, how can we be to blame for our vicious actions and choices?
Or, An Attempt to Trace the Religious Belief, Sacred Rites, and Holy Emblems of Certain Nations, by an Interpretation of the Names Given to Children by Priestly Authority, Or Assumed by Prophets, Kings, and Hierarchs
This book examines, for the first time, those threads in Indian thought that present a prolife view of plants. Using texts from Vedic, Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist traditions, the author argues that there is strong support in early materials that plants are thought to be alive, to be sentient (and have the one sense of touch), to feel pleasure and pain, to have an interior consciousness, and to be bearers of karma. Moreover, while plants are traditionally thought to be of tamasic quality with their immobility and dullness, they are sometimes described as sattvic, with their calmness, even mindedness, and service to others. In fact, the author argues, plants are frequently used to provide a model for the practiced ascetic-in that they bend but don't break with the wind, aren't distracted when buzzed by a mosquito, and flourish in their steadfastness. Given the theoretical discussion of plants within the range of sentient being, the book then focus on the intimate life humans have with plants. Texts devoted to botany, medicine, law, art, literature, and religion, for example, depict human conversation with trees, humans marrying trees, and humans delineating their responsibilities for the well being of plants in the greatest detail. Most difficult is the problem of eating, and in that ahimsa or non-violence towards plants would be the ideal in the extreme, vegetarianism shows up the compromise that is made once plants are brought into the sentient realm. Finally, the author explores the founding premises of several current environmental leaders and movements in India that focus on plants - e.g., tree protection, tree planting, seed saving, biodiversity - to examine whether contemporary plant-oriented ecological activism in India reflects older, traditional ideas about plants. Asking whether new Hindu, Jain, or Buddhist movements reflect respective older ideas, the author finds that contemporary Indian practices remain, on the whole, authentic reflections of their older roots.
The book Our Bodies, Ourselves is a feminist success story. Selling more than four million copies since its debut in 1970, it has challenged medical dogmas about women’s bodies and sexuality, shaped health care policies, energized the reproductive rights movement, and stimulated medical research on women’s health. The book has influenced how generations of U.S. women feel about their bodies and health. Our Bodies, Ourselves has also had a whole life outside the United States. It has been taken up, translated, and adapted by women across the globe, inspiring more than thirty foreign language editions. Kathy Davis tells the story of this remarkable book’s global circulation. Based on interviews with members of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, the group of women who created Our Bodies, Ourselves, as well as responses to the book from readers, and discussions with translators from Latin America, Egypt, Thailand, China, Eastern Europe, Francophone Africa, and many other countries and regions, Davis shows why Our Bodies, Ourselves could never have been so influential if it had been just a popular manual on women’s health. It was precisely the book’s distinctive epistemology, inviting women to use their own experiences as resources for producing situated, critical knowledge about their bodies and health, that allowed the book to speak to so many women within and outside the United States. Davis provides a grounded analysis of how feminist knowledge and political practice actually travel, and she shows how the process of transforming Our Bodies, Ourselves offers a glimpse of a truly transnational feminism, one that joins the acknowledgment of difference and diversity among women in different locations with critical reflexivity and political empowerment.
Embodied Working Lives explores the work-a-day of seasonal migrant laborers in India through a nexus of embodiment theories to enhance our understanding of what constitutes the intense, lived, and physical experience of such work. Echoing constructive explorations of labor science (Bernard Doray) but in the sentiment and with the intense rigor of contemporary phenomenology and labor studies, Louise Waite gives us unique and original ethnographic research to help enhance our understanding of laboring bodies and the policies that effect them.