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Talking Bodies Vol. II


Bodies occupy a paradoxical space in modern society. On the one hand, the body is the most obvious and visible medium used to represent and express ourselves and our identities. On the other hand, this importance also leaves the body open to being controlled, regulated and interpreted. The result of this uncomfortable balance is that body diversity remains at once embraced and vulnerable, and the expression of that diversity is encouraged by some, while also being the subject of the prejudice of others. This chapter acts as an introduction for nine interdisciplinary, international essays, each engaging with the theme of “the body”, broadly defined. It thus lays the groundwork for a volume in which the body not only speaks but is heard and listened to.

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  1. 1.

    bell hooks, “What’s Passion Got to Do with It? An Interview with Marie-France Alderman,” in bell hooks, Reel to Real: Race, Sex and Class at the Movies (New York and London: Routledge, 2009), 153.

  2. 2.

    René Descartes, Discours de la Methode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la verité dans les science, plus la dioptrique, les meteores, et la geometrie (Leyde: l’Imprimerie de Jan Maire, 1637), 33. Descartes first wrote his famous phrase in French as “je pense, donc je suis”. The more familiar Latin phrasing, “cogito, ergo sum”, would only appear in his Principia Philosophiæ of 1644.

  3. 3.

    Emma Rees, “Varieties of Embodiment and ‘Corporeal Style’,” in Emma Rees (ed.), Talking Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Embodiment, Gender and Identity (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 3.

  4. 4.

    Maya Angelou, Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou (New York: Random House, 2014), chap. 1.

  5. 5.

    Jane C. Timm, “Trump on Hot Mic: ‘When You’re a Star … You Can Do Anything’ to Women,” NBC News (7 October 2016),, accessed 24 March 2019.

  6. 6.

    In its apology, The Economist stated that the tweet “mischaracterised” an article on transgender rights in Japan, where trans people are required to undergo medical sterilisation.

  7. 7.

    “Thousands of University Colleagues Support LGBT+ Rights—We Won’t Turn Our Backs Now,” The Independent (19 June 2019),, accessed 9 August 2019.

  8. 8.

    Lea Hunter, “The ‘Tampon Tax’: Public Discourse of Policies Concerning Menstrual Taboo,” The Hinckley Journal of Politics 17 (2016).

  9. 9.

    Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973). A subsequent decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 US 833 (1992), enshrined the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy until the point at which the foetus would be viable outside of the womb.

  10. 10.

    In lieu of many: Jemele Hill, “The War on Black Athletes,” The Atlantic (13 January 2019),, accessed 22 March 2019; Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, “Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost,” New York Times (15 August 2017),, accessed 22 March 2019.

  11. 11.

    The Bechdel-Wallace test is used to make a value judgement on any work of fiction based on the atypical metric of the extent to which its female characters have authentic conversations with each other, on any topic(s) not directly related to men.

  12. 12.

    Caroline Dodds Pennock and Bodie A. Ashton, “Why We, as Academics, Created a Letter in Support of LGBT+ Rights,” The Independent (23 June 2019),, accessed 9 August 2019.

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Ashton, B.A., Bonsall, A., Hay, J. (2020). Introduction. In: Ashton, B., Bonsall, A., Hay, J. (eds) Talking Bodies Vol. II. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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