Body Politics: Local Worlds, Global Processes

Body Politics: Local Worlds, Global Processes is a general education course designed by Dr. Priscilla Song and Dr. Laura Meek for first-year undergraduate students as part of the Common Core Curriculum at the University of Hong. Browse the HKU course website for more information and examples of student work.

How do socioeconomic inequalities affect our bodies? In what ways do governments, corporations, and institutions regulate and control bodies and populations? How are new technologies transforming the ways in which we understand our bodies? How have relationships among mind, body, and society changed across cultures and historical periods? This course addresses these important questions by exploring how bodies are produced, portrayed, and contested in different times and places across the globe.

We will challenge the preconception that bodies are natural and pregiven entities which exist outside of the forces of culture, politics, and history. We will use the body as a lens for exploring the intersections of local worlds and global processes, investigating how our daily lives are shaped by the forces of culture and power. Lectures and tutorials will draw upon diverse multimedia sources including movies, music, advertisements, exercise trackers, and participant observation. Students will learn how to communicate ideas about the body, gaining familiarity and practice with oral, written, visual, and digital literacies. Creative assignments will empower students to reflect upon both their own and others’ embodied experiences, via blogging about individual bodily practices and collectively curating an exhibition on visual representations of bodies.