Embodied knowledge(s) is a way to discover what we know in our embodied beings. Embodied experiences of the discourses within which our bodies are framed offers students their very own resource, i.e our experiences are our own resources. In this minor, ideas are not something generated through distance but follow the thinking of Sara Ahmed (2017) in that they arise from our involvement in a world that can leave us feeling a variety of things from bewilderment, confusion, through to joy and happiness. The body "knows" things and how to do things and can enable us to work on our intuition, with our sense that something is not quite right as the starting point for thinking critically. In this Minor, we are taking the position that without the bodily, we would not be able to organize ourselves in our environment: we would not know where/what we are, what/how we are learning or how we can communicate about our feelings, experiences and modes of being. Our bodies are continually in a process of becoming: they organize our knowing, feeling and being. With that in mind, with what lenses do we gaze on our bodies and those of others? Recognising our bodies and their symbolic materiality is a fundamental aspect of this course, our bodies are politicized, categorised, ranked and judged. We grapple with how to respond to the interrelationship between our bodies, theories of identity and the body politic. This raises questions about speaking positions based on essential categories such as a woman or man, black/POC or white, queer or straight.
In our course, we disrupt the mind body dichotomy by merging practical and theoretical lessons, to create conversation between intellectual and tacit forms of knowledges. Many of the lessons are designed to work through the process of sense making, by looking for gaps (literal and metaphorical), implicit bias, conflicting and hierarchical narratives. Mending is also explored as a metaphor for patching the mind/body divide, healing institutional harm, and repairing other wounds. Mending practices allow for the metabolisation of theoretical discourse in bodily ways such as deep listening exercises, sensorial mapping, literal mending, and craft as a form of embodied knowledge. The acts of mending are attempts to stitch together relationships that have been torn apart and hierarchized such as public/private, political/personal, art/craft, architecture/textile, Modernist/decorative and rational/intuitive.
The documentation of the learning process in this minor is vital. We look for ways to honour this journey through various approaches in how to document in expanded forms, be it through visual, tactile, auditory or performative manifestations. How does form play a role in emphasising, questioning, reframing or dialoguing with the story (content and concept)? In this minor we refer to this documentation process as an 'embodied publication'. Publication refers to documenting research that is made public and engages with a public, and 'embodied' refers to expanded forms of storytelling beyond a conventional understanding of a publication made with paper pages and a cover.
Counter, Invisible, Decolonial and Bodily Archives
"In the modern era, the archive—official or personal—has become the most significant means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored, and recovered. The archive has thus emerged as a key site of inquiry in such fields as anthropology, critical theory, history, and, especially, recent art. Traces and testimonies of such events as World War II and ensuing conflicts, the emergence of the postcolonial era, and the fall of communism have each provoked a reconsideration of the authority given the archive—no longer viewed as a neutral, transparent site of record but as a contested subject and medium in itself." (Merewether 2006).
Using Wekker as our signpost, she states "I attempt a postcolonial, or rather a decolonial, intersectional reading of the Dutch cultural archive, with special attention for the ways in which an imperial racial economy, with its gendered, sexualized, and classed intersections, continues to underwrite dominant ways of knowing, interpreting, and feeling.(2017, p. X)" For Wekker, the cultural archive refers to a storehouse that has lain dormant for over 500 years, however still affecting how our bodies are positioned in relation to each other.
In our attempts to follow up on this perspective, we will be asking the following questions;
What is an archive? Is it a storehouse, repository, inventory, library? Is it a collection of dead artefacts? or is it a living thing with real life consequences? What can be considered a document? What is considered history? Who writes history? And from what perspectives? What biases and bigotries are encoded in there? Who sets the archives categories? Can the body be considered an archive? How can an archive be meaningful to a community/audience? How can an archive be made visible and accessible?
+ Your essay and/or presentation illustrates an ability to reflect critically on your chosen theme in relation to embodied knowledge, the cultural archive and discourses of difference in society. In other words, you must articulate how critical thinking has affected your project's design and development.
+ Your essay demonstrates an awareness of the larger context and discourse your ideas are embedded within, relating your approach to relevant theories, cultural movements, or design/artistic practices.
+You must make a clear connection (or disconnection) between your major to the social practices.
+ Your project illustrates how your work has been influenced by new insights (theoretical and otherwise) gained throughout the minor. Specifically showing relevant social artists, designers and thinkers linked to the theme you have chosen
+ The final presentation shows you can professionally interact with stakeholders and the general audience.
+ You have demonstrated that you are able to document, visualise and present your project as a group. This presentation has the following elements: visual, written and verbal information.
+ The group project is organised in such a way it is professional, relevant and has value for others, whether they be other disciplines, stakeholders, places, spaces and audiences.
+ The students are able to collectively select a platform to make their work public. Public event is organised in such a way it has interacted in a professional, relevant and useful way with other disciplines, stakeholders, partner(s) and audiences.
Students are required to send a portfolio and motivation. You will receive more information about this after you have registered for this minor on Kies op Maat and after approval of the Kies op Maat learning agreement (leerovereenkomst).
De modulen van deze minor worden op verschillende manieren getoetst: schriftelijke tentamens, verslagen, presentaties en mondelinge assessments.