MEDIA CONTACT: Polly Burks
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters Unveils its New Center for Body, Mind and Culture
Interdisciplinary Center Promotes Research, Programming and Education
BOCA RATON , FL (March 7, 2007) – Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters unveiled its new Center for Body, Mind and Culture. The center deploys the college’s wide-ranging disciplinary perspectives on body, mind and culture – ranging from philosophy and history, through social, communicational, and literary studies, to the performing and plastic arts. The center is an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to promoting research, programming and teaching concerning the body-mind-culture nexus.
“Treating the complexity of topics relating to the body-mind-culture connection requires reaching beyond the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts to embrace also the natural and health sciences,” said Dr. Richard Shusterman, director of the center and the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities. “The center’s motivating logic affirms that the three terms constituting its name are essentially interdependent rather than separate entities and they need to be studied in terms of their interrelations and through interdisciplinary research.”
To advance and coordinate research, teaching, and curricular development with respect to body, mind and culture, the center organizes lectures, workshops and conferences, and will also encourage publications and other projects relating to its mission. Through collaborative networks within FAU and external organizations, the center is engaged not only in scholarly research and teaching, but also pursues a mission of public outreach serving diverse populations in the South Florida region who have a strong interest in topics relating to the body-mind-culture nexus. These topics include health and illness, fitness and disability, body image in art and culture, fashion, cosmetics, athletics, nutrition, sexuality and gender, sensory motor learning and therapies, performing arts, martial arts, spirituality and meditation, and other body-mind disciplines (Western and non-Western).
Inaugural programs at the center will begin this spring and include a seminar and training session on sleep and an international research conference on the meaning of the human body from different cultural and disciplinary perspectives.
“These two events reflect the center’s commitment to both practical concerns and theoretical explorations,” said Dr. Sandra Norman, interim dean of FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters. “The center is committed to forging strong links through various disciplines through collaborations with other colleges at FAU and with institutions beyond the FAU community.”
The Center for Body, Mind and Culture is the initiative of Shusterman who will be working with Dr. Kenneth W. Holloway, associate director of the center, assistant professor of history and the Levenson Professor of Asian Studies. Holloway received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a preeminent authority in the area of early Chinese thought and culture.
After receiving his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shusterman served for three years as an officer in military intelligence in the Israeli Defense Forces. He received his doctorate in philosophy from St. John’s College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Shusterman served as professor and chair of Temple University’s philosophy department from 1998-2004. In 2005, Shusterman was awarded the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar Chair in the Humanities at FAU. His international academic career includes appointments as visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, the Sorbonne, and the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris; at the Freie Universität Berlin, and at the Universities of Oslo and Hiroshima University. His authored books include Surface and Depth (2002); Performing Live (2000); Practicing Philosophy: Pragmatism and the Philosophical Life (1997); Sous l’interprétation (1994), Pragmatist Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art (1992, 2 nd edition 2000, and already translated into twelve languages); and T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism (1988). The editor of Analytic Aesthetics (1989), Bourdieu: A Critical Reader (1999), and The Range of Pragmatism and the Limits of Philosophy (2004), Shusterman is also co-editor of The Interpretive Turn (1991). His many research awards include Senior Fulbright and National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowships, and a Humboldt Transcoop Grant. Shusterman has an international reputation for his work in philosophy and aesthetics, and for his pioneer work in somaesthetics, a field of theory and practice devoted to thinking through the body. In addition to his research in somatic philosophy, he works as a certified practitioner in the Feldenkrais Method ® of somatic education.
For more information about the center and upcoming events visit www.fau.edu/bodymindculture or call 561-297-0851.
- FAU -
Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serv es more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts nine colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Barry Kaye College of Business and the Colleges of Education, Engineering & Computer Science, and Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs.