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Bodies of Knowledge Working Group — The monstrosity of humiliation: an ethnography among women who’ve been attacked with chemicals

María Elvira Díaz-Benítez, Museu Nacional UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro

March 31, 2022 · 12:00 pm1:30 pm · Zoom

Humanities Council; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
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The Humanities Council sponsors the Bodies of Knowledge Working Group whose purpose is to engage faculty, staff, and graduate students in questions around embodiment from a wide range of viewpoints including the medical humanities, disability studies, art history and aesthetics, and environmental studies in the Anthropocene. In particular, the group hopes to foster intellectual partnerships with those within and beyond the humanities who share a critical interest in exploring and expanding the multidisciplinary conversations surrounding bodies, their environs, and their representations.

In this talk on her work in progress, María Elvira Díaz-Benítez, Professor of Anthropology, Museu Nacional – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will share on her ethnography carried out in Colombia among women who had chemical agents tossed on their faces – an act she reflects on as one that marks and amputates faces in particular as a way of leaving the victim alive, but sub-humanized, ashamed, and removed from social life. The anthropologist analyzes the initial effects of chemical-tossing on women as an undoing, as an action that affects and alters relationships and the very perception that the subject has of themselves; as a humiliation that seeks to be ever renewed, stretching through time as a visible scar; as a tool for making monsters. Díaz-Benítez also presents and critically assesses collective and subjective movements of victims refusing to be humiliated.

If you would like to be included in the list of participants, are interested in presenting your work-in-progress, or have any programming inquiries, please contact Elena Fratto (Slavic Languages and Literatures) at efratto@princeton.edu or Arbel Griner (Princeton School of Public and International Affairs) at agriner@princeton.edu.

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