2005_11_03rev - Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses...

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Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses Thursday, 03 November 2005 Reading Robert R. Desjarlais, Body and Emotion: The Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas , chs. 4-7, pp. 90-197. Desjarlais’ work showcases the uses of ethnography to elicit people’s experiences, e.g. “soul loss” doesn’t map directly onto depression. student presentation Robert Desjarlais teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. He worked in Nepal as well as with the homeless in Boston. We must understand the culture to understand their bodily experience. | How do we construct everyday lived experience? | How do we use our bodies to interpret our surroundings? There are diverse actors with direct experiences. Sensory experiences have different meanings according to particular culture but are uniform overall. In Nepal there is hierarchal geographic distribution , e.g. Tibetan Lamas are at the top of the mountain (around the temples), then the Tamang and Yolmo (those with local shamanic practices, little consultation with Tibetan medicine but similar nonetheless). Evident here is the relation of illness to society and geography . Spacial organization is also important, e.g. the Yolmo conceptualization of the cosmos and their relation to the five directions and how that correlated to the body (similar to Classen and Scheper-Hughes and Lock). The household wants to be independent but must conform to social life (village, temple).
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2005_11_03rev - Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses...

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