IAS 4180 - Sexuality And Gender In East Asian Religions: The Body In Daoism
The Body! There is probably no other phenomenon in the world that is as directly experienceable and tangible as our own physique, yet at the same time disconcerts and remains opaque to us due to its oftentimes unforeseeable and hardly controllable responses. In this course, we won't try to conclusively solve the question about what the corpus truly is. Instead, we will use the diversity of responses our body has triggered throughout human history and engage in conceptualizations of sex, body, and gender that are quite distinct to our modern-day perceptions. In particular, we will explore early and medieval Daoist visions of the corpus as a microreplica of the cosmos and its impact on various practices such as Inner Alchemy, Techniques of the Bed Chamber, Chinese medicine and mountain-and-water paintings. We will use these perspectives as an opportunity to question our own understandings that are mainly influenced by a dichotomy between the body and soul/mind as developed in a Euro-Christian context and its materialization in the modern disciplines of medicine and psychology. In other words, we will delve into Daoist conceptualizations of sex, body, and gender in order to understand the emphases and some of the limitations of our own preconceived notions that are far from being universal or exhaustive, yet, heavily determine our actions.