University of Cambridge > > Caius MCR/SCR research talks > The Exuvial Renaissance

The Exuvial Renaissance

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Stephan Ursprung.

When we think about human identity we often look inward, to interiority or subjectivity. In his 1998 study Art and Agency, the anthropologist Alfred Gell explores the idea that human personhood might more profitably be thought of as distributed beyond the body. We are made present, he suggests, in many times and places simultaneously, via innumerable intermediaries that remain part of the self as they are separated from it. He goes on to think of these distributions as ‘exuviae’, borrowing a Latin word for ‘that which is stripped, drawn or taken off from the body, clothing, equipments, arms, etc’, ‘the skin of an animal … his slough, hide, fleece or hair’, and ‘spoils stripped from an enemy, as arms, booty, etc’. A short list of exuvial properties might set out from bodily extrusions such as blood, sweat and tears, moving outward through physical objects such as clothes, souvenirs, coins and funerary monuments, and onwards to posthumous avatars such as corpses, ghosts, relics and children; seemingly intangible things such as your name and fame must be somewhere in the mix too. In this talk I will offer a very short introduction to the theory and practice of the exuvial, and will explore some of its implications for thinking about the literary culture of the Renaissance.

This talk is part of the Caius MCR/SCR research talks series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity