Body Talk: How Do We Conceptualize a "Normal" Body?



How do we conceptualize a “normal” body? What language do we use, particularly across axes of gender, race, age, mobility and sexual orientation, to talk about bodies as “normal” or “abnormal?” Students who enroll in the course Body Talk (WRTC 426-0001/HON 300-0008) offered in spring 2019 will explore these questions. This cross-disciplinary course will bring together students in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication (WRTC) and the Honors College to analyze a variety of essays, stories and graphic novels on the topic.

Dr. Michael Klein, WRTC Associate Professor and Medical Humanities Minor Coordinator, says the idea for this course came from his research in medical narrative. In his experience, cross-disciplinary courses are beneficial to students because of the range of perspectives students from different disciplines bring. “By partnering with the Honors College, we’re going to have a wide variety of majors,’ says Dr. Klein. “It will be nice to see what kind of discussions come out of those multiple perspectives. And, given the nature of the course, it is important to have those multiple voices heard and represented.”

Drawing upon scholarship in areas such as body studies, feminism, and race and ethnicity studies, students will compose textual and graphic medical narratives. Students will also have the opportunity to work with a community health care professional and participate in Disability Awareness Week activities. In addition to WRTC and HON credit, the course will count toward the Medical Humanities minor and the Women and Gender Studies minor.

Back to Top

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Related Articles