2015 International Conference

Bodies of Belief: Somaesthetics of Faith and Protest

conference poster


The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 2-day conference, January 29–30, 2015, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.

Human bodies are shaped not only by their genetic endowment but also by the belief systems of the cultures in which they develop and function. Such belief systems vary from unarticulated background assumptions to ritualized practices and explicit doctrines or even to formulated laws enacted and enforced by social institutions. The beliefs that the human soma embodies and expresses are not confined to established social norms; they also include items of faith and commitment that are individualistic, nonconformist, or even antagonistic to the cultural mainstream. More than a mere instrument of compliance or worship, the soma is also a site and weapon of protest.

The conference explored the ways through which beliefs and their corresponding values are embodied and somatically contested in such cultural fields as religion, politics, ethics, and the arts. How are beliefs acted upon or counter-acted by bodies in these fields? How do artistic or literary representations reflect on such bodily actions or themselves participate in these actions? Selected papers will be developed for publication in The Journal of Somaesthetics.