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  • Imag(in)ing the cancerous body: representations of cancer in medical discourse and contemporary visual art
  • Kowalski, Sara
  • en
  • cancer
    contemporary art
    the body
    visual representation
    art history
    hair loss
    medical science
    medical discourse
  • Aug 5, 2010 6:34 PM
  • Thesis
  • en
  • Adobe PDF
  • 1437949 bytes
  • 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.
  • Master's
  • Master of Arts
  • Department of Art and Design
  • Fall 2010
  • Lianne McTavish (Department of Art and Design)
  • Amanda Boetzkes (Department of Art and Design)
    Robert Smith (Department of History and Classics)


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