#TCOE (The Conundrums Of Embodiment, April 29, 2017):
Do you despise your body? Can the body be a source of transcendence? Can one, however, have nothing but only the body? Are we embedded in this world as bodies with other objects, texts, rituals, spectators, and bodies? Is everybody also a biological, physical, social, & political object? Do you see yourself through the eyes of others? Can there be The (disembodied) View from Nowhere? Is it possible to experience the body as the object and subject fused together? Why do we watch dance? Why do dancers dance, & is any movement dance? Why get into tough postures? Why touch? Can the body be ‘nationalised’? What makes martial arts, yoga and dance similar? Does the body ‘do’ the thinking, & can it (though perishable) think about the eternal (soul)? Is there a homologous relationship between the body (pinde) and the cosmos (brahmand)? If we imprison the body long enough do we also end up imprisoning the mind? Is it possible to leave a manual for dance and martial arts? Is life information? What is the very long term future of (dis)embodiment, ‘presence’, and impermanence? Is the body ready? Might it be bypassed? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts and experiences from philosophy (Dr. Kim Díaz, US Department of Justice, also El Paso Community College, Texas), political theory & poetry (Prof. Bishnu N. Mohapatra, Forum on Contemporary Theory, Vadodara), & dance (Aparna Uppaluri, Antara Collective, also NCBS, Bangalore).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TCOE show.
Dr. Kim Díaz (philosophy) works for the United States Department of Justice and is also an adjunct Professor of philosophy at El Paso Community College, Texas, USA. At the US Department of Justice she teaches philosophy and mindfulness in two Federal re-entry and diversion programs where she works with convicted felons. She is also currently a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, JNU. Dr. Díaz’ research is grounded in her experience of practicing Latin American Philosophy, specifically the social political issues that characterize the Latin American experience. Her work has been published in journals such as Philosophy in The Contemporary World, Societies Without Borders, & The American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy. She is a founding member of the Society for Mexican-American Philosophy, and the editor of the Philosophy of the Americas Reader (Bloomsbury, forthcoming). Besides her academic work, in a previous lifetime Kim spent ten years dancing semi-professionally. Since then, she has been practicing and teaching martial arts and is also a certified yoga teacher. She has also received training by the Prison Mindfulness Institute as well as the Prison Yoga Project based out of the San Quentin State Prison. Dr. Díaz is also a practicing Buddhist and took a Bodhisattva Vow from the ‘Nyingmapa’ School of Tibetan Buddhism. Given her experience with these different embodied and meditative traditions, she ultimately seeks to bring the freedom, clarity, and peace one is able to achieve through meditation, yoga, and martial arts to the sociopolitical problems within the Latin American experience.
Prof. Bishnu N. Mohapatra (political theory, poetry) is a poet and also currently the Senior Academic Fellow at the Forum on Contemporary Theory (FCT), Vadodara. He is a political theorist with interests in history, philosophy, and literature. He taught for over two decades at the University of Delhi (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, New Delhi) and Azim Premji University (APU, Bangalore). Until recently he was the Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee Chair Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. He has also held visiting positions at Kyoto University, Japan and National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore. Prof. Mohaptra’s key research interests are in the areas of democracy, social capital, minority rights, identity politics and dissenting imagination. Currently, he is researching ‘cities’ by looking at their complicated history and contemporary imaginings. From 2002 till 2010 he headed the governance portfolio of Ford Foundation’s South Asia office in New Delhi. Prof. Mohapatra is a well-known Indian poet who writes in Odia. He has published four volumes of poetry and two volumes of translation of Neruda’s poetry into Odia. ‘A Fragile World’, a collection of his poems has been translated into English. His published books are: ‘Minority Question in India’ (2015) and ‘Buddha and Mango’ (2015, a volume of his poetry in the English translation). Currently he is working on completing a volume that deals with his poetic meditation on ‘rain’. He was educated in Odisha, Delhi and Oxford. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TREM (The (Re)Enchantment Machine)]
Aparna Uppaluri (dance) is Founder/Director of the Antara Artists’ Collective – a performing arts organization in Bangalore. She is also a trained epidemiologist and heads the Science and Society Program at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore. At Antara she teaches Odissi dance form and is building a research program in dance history, ethnography and pedagogy focusing on the body as a site of knowledge production and inquiry. She began dancing at the age of six, and had an unconventional trajectory in her dance training learning different Indian dance forms from several teachers and forms across three continents. When she began teaching Odissi about a decade ago, it propelled her inquiry into performance as a bodily practice and the perceptible and imperceptible knowledge the body produces. She is particularly interested in helping to deepen the discourse on how the apparent cognitive mechanisms involved in dance encode meaning-making mediated through metaphors. Aparna is also trained as an epidemiologist and worked in public health for over 14 years in Canada and India. During her tenure in public health, she led community development and health promotion projects, coordinated clinical research studies and primary care programming. Her research interests included TB epidemiology and primary care delivery. Her interest in the dialogue between history, theory and practice of knowledge systems has led her to explore the nature of modern science and alternative worldviews.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TCOE mentions: Gautama Buddha, René Descartes, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Rainer Maria Rilke, Sri Aurobindo, Michel Foucault, John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Shunryū Suzuki Roshi, & Merce Cunningham, among others.