Embodied Culture: Discovering the Feeling of Self and Other in Cultural Context
While the idea of "culture" is an abstraction, the actual experience we have of culture is a very concrete one: it is, in the words of Humberto Maturana "the praxis of living of a coordinated group of people." Whatever kind of group it is – national, ethnic, professional, etc. – coordination depends on people having a shared experience of everyday life. Like all organisms, human beings experience life via their bodily senses, both literally and, through language, metaphorically. So, to understand the actual experience of culture, we need to tap into that embodiment of our individual and collective sensory experience.
Culture frames experience in a particular way so that we give meaning, attribute value, and feel emotion in resonance with other members of our group(s). As we become more conscious of constructing cultural identity, how aware are we that it is inscribed in our body? By increasing our awareness of cultural embodiment, this course will show how ethnocentrism can be counteracted more effectively and how multicultural identity can be achieved more deliberately. Overall, the course will activate this long journey of discovery that leads to incorporating intercultural consciousness into one's praxis of living.