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Handbooks Courses Units

HYM4370 - Fantasies of the flesh: the body in history

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Michael Hau


Clayton First semester 2008 (Day)


The unit draws on work from a wide range of historical fields. Students will analyse how representations of the body and practices centred on the body (eg. exercising, tattooing etc.) have influenced people's understandings of class, race, and gender. In discussing the representations of grotesque, normal, and beautiful bodies, the unitexplores mechanisms of symbolic inclusion and exclusion from imagined communities. The relationship between the reproductive and productive bodies of men and women will be another focus. In addition, the unit will discuss the enabling of the body and mind through modern practices of performance enhancement.


Students who have completed the unit will

  1. Be able to distinguish between different approaches in the historiography dealing with the body
  2. Know how to critically assess these approaches
  3. Discuss their heuristic potential
  4. Formulate their own positions on key issues based on a critical engagement with the historiography and relevant primary sources.
  5. Be able to review monographs published in the field
  6. Develop an independent research project in the field
  7. Situate their own work within larger historiographical debates


Book Review (800-1000 words): 10%; Book Review (800-1000 words): 10%; Research Proposal (1500 words): 20%; Research Essay (5500-6000 words): 50%

Contact hours

Twelve 2-hour seminars



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