Arts & Culture » Culture

Body basics


The capsule in which we travel through life is complex, as is our relationship to it. Our bodies: We love them, we loathe them; we pamper them, we abuse them; we alter our own, and judge those that belong to others.

With this wide range of issues in mind, the Humanities Center of Wayne State University presents “The Body,” a daylong interdisciplinary conference to examine, dissect and contemplate the human bod — not from an anatomical standpoint, but a psychological one.

Each year, the Humanities Center selects a broad-reaching topic, then challenges faculty to develop thoughtful proposals examining the issue. Walter Edwards, director of the center, says this year he received 22 proposals; the center picked eight, and funded the research.

“It should appeal to people in the humanities, and arts and culture, in a wide range of disciplines,” Edwards says of the event. “Within the humanities, we study human beings in terms of their mental, physical, emotional and cultural lives, so the body is a viscerally important topic.”

Topics include: “Dangerous Bodies/Vulnerable Nations: Arabs and Muslims in Post 9/11 America,” “Glamour and Beauty — Imagining Glamour in the Age of Aesthetic Surgery” and “Rewriting the Homeless Body: Highlighting a Subjugated Discourse.”

In addition to presentations by eight WSU profs, three outside speakers from esteemed universities will also present their works; one is from as far away as Oxford University in England.

Even better, the event’s free and open to the public.

“We are eager to have members of the general public come and hear these talks,” Edwards says. “It should have a wide appeal to all.”


9:15 a.m.-5:25 p.m., Friday, April 8, at Bernath Auditorium, David Adamany Undergraduate Library, Wayne State University campus. Call 313-577-5471 or visit

Sarah Klein is the culture editor of Metro Times. Send comments to