Reading Year: The Body as Text

October 12, 2016,

The AURAK Reading Club (ARC), which was officially inaugurated at the end of the spring ’16 semester, has held its first event of new academic year, celebrating the UAE’s Year of Reading.

The public lecture delivered by Dr. Richard Gauvain, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, whose paper was titled ‘The Body as Text: What Do You Look Like?”

Dr. Richard explained, “Our choices to exhibit, celebrate, rejuvenate, distort, augment, cover up, or ignore our bodies are informed by the social contexts in which we live. Depending upon when and where we have grown up, we are likely to view our bodies in different ways.

Cultural anthropologists explore the relationship between culture and notions of the body. A cultural anthropologist is, therefore, just as happy to talk about ‘reading bodies’ as reading books. This paper demonstrates how attitudes to the body can be – and have been – interpreted, as if the body itself were a text.  It also discusses a range of attitudes to the body within the modern Middle East, and particularly within the UAE.”