Mind and Body
The Mellon Sawyer Seminar in Fall 2013 will turn to a consideration of the way the mind and the body interact. Those who feel betrayed by their body’s weakness often retreat into their minds. On the other hand, many people have minds that betray the body, turning on the body in acts of self-violence and destruction. The seminars this semester will look at the critical and often fragile relationship between mind and body.
In our first seminar, Professor Kirsten Cather will discuss noteworthy examples of ‘scripted suicide’ and the underlying significance of the ‘suicidal body’ and its modes of presentation and performance. Professor Michele Mason will discuss the warrior code of bushidô and challenge received wisdom regarding its essential ‘masculinity,’ within the framework of Japanese national identity.
Seminar two considers the way individuals are often embattled by their minds. Japan has made great strides in recent years to incorporate the physically disabled into mainstream society with wheelchair ramps, Braille signage, and greater concern for accessibility. But the same consideration has not been extended those with mental impairments. Dr. Karen Nakamura will discuss the new strides that are being made to better understand those with schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions in order to create a more positive social environment. Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva will present her research on suicide and mental health in Japan, focusing on the way meditation and other forms of treatment lend an embodied aspect to healing practices.