Bodies We Fail

Productive Embodiments of Imperfection

This book explores the productive effects of bodily ›failure‹ in the sphere of visuality. The aim is to reflect on the human body's constant exposure to visual constraints and distortions, which are incorporated so strongly in everyday images of our bodies that they become invisible, while yet representative of cultural norms. By analyzing artistic literary and visual representations of imperfect, disabled, aging, queer, and monstrous bodies, this project exposes the »handicaps« of normative vision and opens up new ways of recognizing a multitude of corporeal existences and practices outside the norm.

€29.99 * $40.00 *

8 September 2014, 200 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-2609-4

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Jules Sturm

Jules Sturm, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

... with Jules Sturm

1. »Completely unnecessary!« – Why is that not true for your book?

To counter persistent trends of stereotyping human bodies into fixed categories of gender, race, ability, or age, this book aims to expose how we visualize bodies. The way we picture bodies often determines what we ›make‹ of them. »Bodies We Fail« offers ways of seeing bodies differently and accounts productively for the difficulty of making sense of human embodiment.

2. What new perspectives are opened up by your book?

With the help of artworks and cutting edge theories, this project challenges not only the constraints of social norms, but also the visual mechanisms that maintain and perpetuate them on the site of the body. The book offers possible ways of ›de-scripting‹ and ›un-learning‹ our visions of especially those bodies that disturb the norm. It shows that due to the abundance of possible meanings, the body has a great conceptual capacity to teach us how to see and know differently.

3. What's the book's possible impact on the current discourse?

Many studies of the body deconstruct embodied difference or call on specific types of non-conforming bodies to act subversively. This book challenges all bodies' ability to create and disrupt bodily norms. Consequently, it extends and crosses the limits of academic and social classifications of embodiment.

4. With which audience would you like to discuss your book?

With scholars and artists who recognize the body's conceptual potential to counter discrimination and marginalization.

5. Your book in one sentence:

An interdisciplinary project that disentangles bodies from normatively descriptive images and complicates simplified visions of our bodies.

Jules Sturm
Book title
Bodies We Fail Productive Embodiments of Imperfection
transcript Verlag
kart., Klebebindung, 8 SW-Abbildungen, 14 Farbabbildungen
Commodity Group
SOC022000 ART009000
Release date
8 September 2014
Kunst, Körper
Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Visual Studies, Literary Studies
Body, Art, Disability, Queer, Visual Culture, Arts, Cultural Theory, Theory of Art, Cultural Studies

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