Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From the Inside Out: Cultural Translation as an Embodied Practice
by Wisnoski, Alexandra Keller, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2011, 159; 10305692
Abstract (Summary)

The thesis submitted for the Masters of Cultural Translation concerns the fields of cultural anthropology, theoretical and applied somatic studies, contemporary art, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Focusing on how gestural language, subjective experience of embodied limits, and identity formation are related, this paper explores cultural translation as an applied body practice that possibly results in a subject’s increased capacity for cultural self-awareness, not for therapeutic ends, but rather as a practice concerned with the pursuit of self-observation and self-knowledge.

Chapter one sets up two categories, representation and presentation, also referred to as the fixed and the dynamic respectively, as means of exploring subjective experience of cultural identity as a synthesis of these polarities. I argue the body to be the site of synthesis and identify body language as a concrete means of viewing it.

Chapter two is concerned with the formation of the synthetic category, termed re/presentation, as resulting from the solidification of the fixed category limiting the dynamic. The relationship between these two categories is examined through primary language acquisition as it relates to identity formation and cultural experience.

Chapter three examines the difference between culture as an historical circumstance, and cultural context as a temporal occurrence. Focusing mainly on cultural context, I argue that although such circumstances may not be definitively pin pointed, they may be pointed to by way three temporary but defining, interrelated elements: language, ritual, and community.

Chapter four is a concrete application of cultural translation as an embodied practice. Examining two different and dynamic cultural contexts, I detail how bodily interaction with these instances by a subject could result in greater self- awareness of how culture, as an historically fixed circumstance, is embodied.

Keywords: Body Language, Body Practices, Embodied Identity, Cultural Self- Awareness, Expressive Arts.

Indexing (document details)
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Cultural Translation
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Social psychology, Physiological psychology
Keywords: Body language, Cultural self-awareness, Embodied identity, Expressive arts
Publication Number: 10305692
ISBN: 978-1-369-49256-9
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