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Imag(in)ing the cancerous body: representations of cancer in medical discourse and contemporary visual art Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
disease
medical discourse
cancerous
the body
medical science
illness
cancer
hair loss
medicine
embodiment
contemporary art
art history
baldness
visual representation
abjection
performance
photography
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kowalski, Sara
Supervisor and department
Lianne McTavish (Department of Art and Design)
Examining committee member and department
Robert Smith (Department of History and Classics)
Amanda Boetzkes (Department of Art and Design)
Department
Department of Art and Design
Specialization

Date accepted
2010-08-05T18:34:25Z
Graduation date
2010-11
Degree
Master of Arts
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
This thesis examines representations of cancer in contemporary art, with a particular focus on unruly, un-idealized bodies at risk. In bringing together the discourses of art history and medicine, its aim is to engage conventions of visualizing cancer, and more importantly, to highlight the ways in which contemporary artists challenge dominant representations, re-imagining the cancerous body from an embodied perspective. Chapter One provides a context for images of cancer by examining an artistic account of how medicine constructs the body against an artist’s representation of her own cancerous body. Theorizing cancer as an abject condition, Chapter Two examines representational strategies for visualizing cancer that trouble distinctions between inside/outside, self/other, subject/object, healthy/diseased. Building on themes of gender, health, and identity, Chapter Three considers representations of chemotherapy-induced hair loss and baldness as the most visible signs of cancer, but highly unstable and performative ones that call the representational status of the disease into question.
Language
English
Rights
License granted by Sara Kowalski (sara.kowalski@ualberta.ca) on 2010-08-03T03:38:58Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File author: Sara Bear
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File language: en-CA
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