Choreographing Empathy

Topoi 24 (1):81-91 (2005)
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Abstract

The paper builds an argument about empathy, kinesthesia, choreography, and power as they were constituted in early eighteenth century France. It examines the conditions under which one body could claim to know what another body was feeling, using two sets of documents – philosophical examinations of perception and kinesthesia by Condillac and notations of dances published by Feuillet. Reading these documents intertextually, I postulate a kind of corporeal episteme that grounds how the body is constructed. And I endeavor to situate this body within the colonial and expansionist politics of its historical moment.

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