Introduction. Archives of the Body. ‘The body as an archive’

Le sternum brûle la plèvre
La plèvre, contractée, étouffe les poumons.
L’air pleut en escarbilles sur l’estomac.
Un acide coule le long des vertèbres et dévore les racines du ventre. Tout devient blanc. Les os entassent
leur rocaille. Le regard se casse, d’un ébouillis à l’autre,
puis rampe.
En haut, dans la sinistre solitude du crâne, l’œil pend.

Bernard Noël, Extraits du corps, 1958



In recent decades, following the leading work of Roy Porter, and his key assumptions that human bodies are the main signifiers of all political, medical and religious meanings, many scholars have paid growing attention to the body in terms of medical culture, power, politics, art, religion, literature, anatomy and history, right up to the most recent studies on ethical and gender issues. In addition, recent spectacular artists' installations and performances on the body (by among others Gunther Von Hagens, Christian Boltanski and Peter Greenway) keep the questioning around the body deeply rooted in our society.
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