Fantastic lecture from Annemarie Mol “Where is my Body? Notes on Eating and Topology”. This lecture was organised by the Research Center of Social and Cultural Studies Mainz (SoCuM) as part of their yearly Georg Forster Lecture series. More excellent speakers have been invited of the years, and I’m curious to look at those lectures as well. A page with all the Georg Forster lectures can be found here. The following is the original abstract from the SoCuM website for the lecture:
In the course of the twentieth century, the notion “das Volk” gradually lost its appeal. Natural and social realities got disentangled. The sciences came to take bodies as a basic layer and social phenomena as situated on top of it. In recent practice-oriented studies this changes, as in practice there are no layers, but bodily and social elements act together. Other topological configurations shift accordingly. For in practice “my body” is not necessarily be-neath my skin; as I eat stuff from everywhere, it stretches out. But while “my body” is wide-spread, knowledge about it is situated. The fact that “my body” needs 2000 kcal a day, may be relevant in a setting of scarcity, but in contexts of abundance it is counterproductive. In single settings, at the same time, different kinds of facts may come to clash. Economics may take feeding grain to chicken to be efficient, but for nutrition science it is not at all. The topological complexity of bodily spaces thus laid out, gives reason to conclude that while in practice scientific knowledge is highly pertinent, it does not offer conclusive grounds.