|Ellie Epp||Embodiment Studies web worksite index|
"...embodiment studies is an emphasis on understanding human life as the life of a physical body."
Embodiment Studies in formation
I developed this web worksite while I was teaching at Goddard College during the ten years between 2003 and 2013. I thank Margo MacLeod for her support of its early stages there.
The site is designed to encourage and support projects investigating both the experience and the implications of embodiment.
The site is a loose collection of materials related to this new academic approach. For now it is just a worksite to help in thinking about possibilities.
In the areas of most interest to them individually, faculty and students have contributed book lists, notes, links, conversations, stories, quotations, pictures, and examples of student projects. I welcome more material of any of these kinds.
Study areas listed in the navigation frame on the left link to pages with more detail.
For examples of student work in embodiment studies, see past issues of my semester magazine:
If you think you might like to work in
embodiment studies contact me here.
Intentions and motives - Notes from inaugural faculty conversation about embodiment studies, January 2003: Lise Weil, Margo MacLeod, Sara Norton, Karen Campbell, Ellie Epp
M: What are your intentions/motives for wanting this concentration?
E: Philosophical clarity. Wanting to revise dualist manners of speaking.
Love for perception as direct form of knowing, belief in perception/action as cognitive foundation for any kind of knowing, interest in expanding capabilities of perception.
K: Reaction against what cultural studies has done in turning everything into an essentialist/constructionist debate.
Opening things up for queer studies. Broadening a concern for justice.
S: Passionate love of and fear for the earth. Vision of being connected through body. Experience of embodied embrace of earth, travelling with a backpack.
Sense of going forward into a new place. Mystical experience.
L: It is what is missing here and elsewhere, pivotal. Would attract students I want to work with. Students who have worked with body consciousness do the best work.
The sound of the snowmobiles, machines everywhere -- place matters less and less. Relation to mother. Technologies are conspiring with discourses to remove the material foundations of existence.
M: The important things I learn, I learn in a bodily form first, find words for later. Experiential learning.
Very strong sense of what's happening to our ability to move consciousness in and through the body. The route to these understandings partly through dreams, authentic movement, shamanic practices. Allow for a different kind of understanding.
I finally have some thoughts/ questions about the embodiment program... The understanding I have gained is that this will be a program on exploring the body as a mental spiritual physical whole... what it means to be physical in a world that always (some religions) and increasingly (technology) separates these aspects. How our physicality relates to the natural physicality around us (the earth) and how consciousness of place, of bodies in place and 'perception as direct form of knowing' can heal ourselves or be a starting place to help heal others/ earth/ community.
My most immediate thought is of 'body image' or 'women's issues' (eating disorders) which I don't think is the focus here at all, though of course these days is inseparable from any sort of body talk so to speak. How to move past the shallow interpretation and present the program as a social/cultural/historical/scientific whole? (Though of course the list of study areas does this... just sorta pondering here, I think this will be a common first interpretation of the program).
I do think that people my age and younger will be drawn to this sort of study because all the understanding we are offered of the world is from someplace outside of ourselves. (Especially younger generations, the digital kids.) Never encouraged to seek knowledge or understanding from within, or to trust in physical knowing/perceptions. To be able to place myself inside myself and then place that self in my world around... invaluable. Solid. Helpful. Healing.
-- Salutation, Thomas Traherne 1636?1674