The Year of the Body Colloquium

Many faculty members and students at Harvard Divinity School have had a longstanding interest in the body. During 2012-13 academic year, “the year of the body,” we will share in an effort to foster collaboration across different anthropological, historical, and theological areas of interest through a series of colloquia, courses focusing on the body, panels, and other events.

The 2012-13 series, "Science, Religion and the Body," will explore themes of gender and sexuality in several contexts. In addition to hosting panels and presentations by Harvard faculty members, the colloquium will host speakers who will be invited in conjunction with four courses focusing on the body at Harvard Divinity School taught by Janet Gyatso, Karen King, Ahmed Ragab, and Mayra Rivera Rivera.  

please Click on the  icon to listen to any of our recorded lecture. The recorded lectures can also be downloaded via iTunes University.


Jennifer Glancy

"Corporal Knowledge Among Ancient Christians"

Jennifer Glancy's research interests include the cultural history of early Christianity, corporeality and Christian anthropology, women’s history in antiquity, gender theory, and comparative slavery studies. Her current long-term project considers reading as a transformative and corporal practice in early Christianity.

September 27, 2012

Andover Hall, Sperry Room 5-7 PM

Respondent: Professor Karen King. 

Shaun E. Marmon

"The Violence of Naming: A Female Slave's Strategies of Resistance in Fifteenth Century Damascus"

Shaun Marmon is a specialist in the history of pre-modern Islamic societies with a focus on Egypt . Her published works include Eunuchs and Sacred Boundaries in Islamic Society and Slavery in the Islamic Middle East. She has a particular interest in the Mamluk period. Her research and teaching interests include the history of slavery in the Islamic world, the construction of gender in Islamic societies (in both the past and in the present) and the historical configurations of social networks and systems of mediation in the Middle East. Her current research projects include a study of race and slavery in late medieval Egypt and Syria and a study of the concept of intercession in Medieval Islam.

November 8, 2012, 5-7 PM

Andover Hall, Sperry Room 5-7 PM

Respondent: Professor Ahmed Ragab. 

Gayle M. Salamon

"The Simple Click of Her Heel on the Ground: Gendered Phenomenologies of Walking"

Gayle Salamon specializes in phenomenology, gender and queer theory, critical theory and visual culture.  She is the author of Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality (Columbia University Press, 2010) on embodiment and transgender subjectivity. Recent articles include  “Transfeminism and the Future of Women’s Studies” in Women’s Studies on the Edge, (Joan Scott, ed., Duke University Press, 2008) and “Justification and Queer Method, or: Leaving Philosophy” in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Vol 24 No. 1, Winter 2009.  She is currently at work on Chronic Pain and the Language of the Self, a manuscript exploring narrations of bodily pain in contemporary memoir.

February 7, 2013, 5-7 PM

Andover Hall, Sperry Room 5-7 PM

Respondent: Professor Ahmed Ragab. 

Sharon Betcher

"Crip/tography: Disability Theology in the Ruins of God" 

March 7, 2013, 5-7 PM

Sharon V. Betcher is a freelance academic, living on Whidbey Island, Washington, and Affiliate Professor of Theology, Research and Teaching Fellow, at Vancouver School of Theology (Vancouver, BC).  She is the author of two academic manuscripts, Spirit and the Politics of Disablement (Fortress, 2007) and Spirit and Cosmopolis: Theology for Seculars (Fordham, forthcoming 2013) as well as essays on ecological, postcolonial and disabilities theologies within multiple anthologies.  Over the past several years, she has been exploring the diverse genres within creative nonfiction and recently won first place in the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts’ 100 Word Story Smash with her composition, “Blackberry Memorial” and in the Whidbey Island Writer’s Association 2012 1200 word memoir competition with her composition “Facing Diminishment.”

Respondent: Professor Mayra Rivera Rivera.


Gianna Pomata

"The Medical Case Across Cultures: Comparing the European Observatio and the Chinese Yi'an"

Professor at the Institute of the History of Medicine

The Johns Hopkins University

April 15, 2013, 5:15-6:45 PM 

Science Center, Lecture Hall 469

Daud Ali

"The Marks of a Man: Physiognomy, Moral Causation and the Everyday in Early India"

Daud Ali is an historian of pre-Mughal South Asia. His area of training and expertise is early medieval South Asia, but his research interests have expanded over the years. His research has focused on the history of mentalities and practices in pre-Sultanate South Asia, and he has published on a wide range of subjects, including courtly and monastic discipline, mercantile practices, conventions in erotic poetry and courtship, slavery, ideas of space, time and history in inscriptions, early Southeast Asian history, and, most recently, on gardens and landscape in the medieval Deccan. Future and ongoing projects include collaborative projects on the history of friendship in early and medeival South Asia, a translation of a Buddhist text on erotics, as well as a study of the production of the king Bhoja cycles in Western India.

April 18, 2013, 5-7 PM

Respondent: Professor Janet Gyatso.


marmon_violenceofnaming_november2012.mp384.12 MB
salamon_limping_february2013.mp344.08 MB
betchercryptography_march2013.mp386.94 MB
alimarksofaman_april2013.mp349.56 MB