Philosophy and Culture
"Crossroads of Philosophy and Cultural Studies: Body, Context, Performativity, Community"
J. Hillis Miller, University of California Irvine
1 I have discussed this
confusion and its origins at some length in Miller 2007.
2 Here are a few other representative book titles: The Body in Pain; Writing and the Body; Body Politics; Bodies that Matter; Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud; Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body; Body Work; Slave to the Body; Scripting the Black Masculine Body; Politics of the Female Body; The New Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book By and For Women. One section of a recent issue of Wired (January 2007) is called Beyond the Body: The Science of Human Enhancement.
A panel at the Modernist Studies Association meeting in October 2006 was entitled "The Avant-Garde Body." Below is the call for papers for that panel. I cite it because it gathers together in a few sentences received opinions within cultural studies about the body, including a tacit taking for granted of the more or less unproblematic materiality of the body:
can see, almost everything is up for grabs in this call for papers
except the question of what we mean by the materiality of the body.
That is taken for granted as a given, on the basis of which all
these further investigations will be carried out.
King James translation drops the enim and just says, "This
is my body" (Matt. 26:26). I suppose this may have been to bypass
controversies about whether the Eucharist is a matter of transubstantiation,
consubstantiation, or just as symbolic remembrance (as I was taught).
If Jesus really said, in Aramaic, something like, "This is really,
truly, my body," it is difficult to hold that he meant anything other
4 In a forthcoming
essay, "Touching Derrida Touching Nancy," I have attempted, among
other things, to identify what is at stake in the differences between
Nancy and Derrida on the questions of touch and the body.
5 In the deuterocanonical Book
of Judith, the Assyrian army is camped just outside the mountain
pass leading to the besieged Jewish city of Bethulia. Judith entices
the invading Assyrian General, Holofernes, in his tent, gets him
drunk, and then beheads him with his own sword, thereby saving
Bethulia and becoming a great heroine in Jewish history (Judith