2015 International Conference
Bodies of Belief: Somaesthetics of Faith and Protest
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 http://journals.aau.dk/index.php/JOS .
The conference schedule is posted here.
The abstracts to the papers presented can be found here.
Mindful Body in the Arts of Eating
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture hosted a 2-day conference, January 23–24, 2014, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Eating is an essential activity for human life, and without such life there is no thought, no theory, no art. While eating is a need, knowing how to eat is often said to be an art that requires intelligence, knowledge, and imaginative creativity. As another maxim puts it: Animals feed; humans eat; and the wise know how to eat. What considerations guide our eating? How could we make them more intelligent and rewarding? A multitude of diverse factors affect our forms of eating and our choice of food: economic, medical, gustatory, ethical, social, and aesthetic. How do we balance them for a more mindful, healthier, more gratifying art of eating?
This conference explored the art of eating by considering the different sciences and arts that examine and guide the ways we eat and drink. These include the various fields that impact gastronomical theory (from health sciences and cooking to agriculture and economics) and fields that concern the ways food and eating are represented in literature, social theory, and the arts.
Please click here to view the official press release.
Please click here to view the program.
2013 Body and Technology: Instruments of Somaesthetics conference
The Center for Body, Mind, and Culture invited proposals for papers to be presented at a 3-day conference, January 24-26, 2013, at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
The human body is our basic instrument for life, the basis for the creation and use of all our other tools or technologies. As the body has shaped technology, so technology is increasingly reshaping the body: not only by reshaping our bodily habits through which we experience and act in the world but also through the incorporation of prosthetic devices and drug enhancements. Regarding the body as a sensitive sentient soma, rather than as a merely material machine, this conference rethought the relationship between body and technology, focusing on such topics as human-computer interaction, robotics, medical and fitness technologies, technology and the environment, and technologies of the arts. We welcomed papers from the perspectives of both the sciences and the humanities.