Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

UOSM2030 Body and Society

Module Overview

People are bodies. We inhabit our own bodies and relate to other people in terms of their bodies. This module brings together Archaeology, Anatomy, and Anthropology to explore a range of different disciplinary approaches to the human body in past and present. Through the exploration of a diverse range of case studies, from organ donation to tattooing, this module examines how the body has been perceived as a physical object and a social construction. It looks at the central role of the body in mediating social relations, and how people respond to the living and the dead body in culturally and historically specific ways.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A range of practical and theoretical approaches to investigating the human body drawn from a suite of different disciplines.
  • The culturally and historically situated nature of perceptions and responses to the body
  • The relationship between individual bodies and society
  • The human body as a complex and dynamic phenomenon


The module will be divided into a series of 4 thematic blocks, each dealing with a different aspect of the human body. Block I: The Physical Body. Introduction to anatomy of the body. Lifeways and influence of the environment (social and physical) on the human body and its development Responses of the body to the world (senses and pain). Block 2: The Body as a Commodity. Human trafficking Organ donation and trafficking The dead body Block 3: Categorising the Social Body. The relationship between the classification of the body and classifications in society Gender; Age; Sexuality; Disability. Block 4: The Body as / and Representation. Art and aesthetics of the human body. Representations of the human body from the Palaeolithic through Antiquity to the Present Notions of beauty in culture including body modification and tattooing Alongside the thematic content the module will include a series of sessions to train you in use of the technologies used in the assessments and in the research skills needed to successfully complete them. In Week 1 you will have a session dedicated to citizenship on-line, on-line identity, and use of the blog. This will be jointly delivered by the module co-ordinator and a member of CITE. In Week 5 a session will be dedicated to helping you to develop exhibition research timetables and research designs, make you aware of copyright issues in the use of images, and how to use Efolio to prepare your exhibition. In week 10 there will be an exhibition ‘surgery’ session to which you will be able to bring issues or seek advice on your exhibition catalogue before it is submitted at the end of week 12.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

In this module you will benefit from a combination of complementary teaching and learning methods. 1) Keynote lectures: Each of the three themes will be kick-started by a keynote lecture given by an expert in the field outlining the main issues to be tackled within the block. Aspects of each block will be delivered using a ‘flipped classroom model’ in which you will come to classes to discuss material you have previously looked at. This will take place within practicals, workshops or blogs focussing on case studies relating to those issues. Feedback will be provided to students throughout the module during the practicals and following blog posts. In the first week you will be split into multi-disciplinary groups and remain in these for the rest of the semester for the blog and exhibition catalogue assignments. 2) Practicals: In the case of Block 1 (The Physical Body), following the keynote lecture the classes will include lab-based practicals and seminars with preparatory work available online. 3) For Blocks 2-3, following the keynote lecture you will discuss topics laid out in the lecture through a series of case studies. Preparatory work will be made available through the on- line module pack. You will be guided in your learning through a series of ‘points to think about’ in relation to that week’s material. You will then be able to bring these focussed responses to discussions on-line and in class. The use of selected case studies will provide additional focus and enable you to drill down into the issues. 4) Blog: Lectures and practicals will be used as the starting point for continued reflection by individual students through your contribution to a blog. You will be divided into groups and each will have its own blog (accessible to the whole class) to which each student will be expected to make regular contributions. You must make at least 1 contribution to your group blog for each block of the module and must comment on at least 2 other posts by your peers during the module. 5) Self study: A comprehensive on-line learning resource will be made available on edshare/blackboard. In particular this will include podcasts / video material, an image library used as both a resource and a provocation for you to think through key issues and use in your exhibition catalogue preparation, a study pack including digitized key readings, and guidance on ‘points to consider’. 6) Group work: In parallel with the group workshops and individual contributions to a blog, you will work together in a group to put together an exhibition catalogue on ‘The Body’ which will be published on-line (accessible only to members of UoS for copyright reasons). You will be given a brief to work to and will be asked to put together an annotated catalogue of images reflecting a range of issues explored within the module. You will be encouraged to go outside the case studies presented within the module and to use your own creativity in producing the catalogue to a high standard. Each group will be helped to construct a research timetable to enable them to complete this assessment associated with this module; you will be expected to carry out this group-based work outside of timetabled events. Throughout the module particular emphasis will be placed on use of visual material as a means of teaching and learning. These will be made accessible through the on-line resource pack and links to public domain web resources.

Preparation for scheduled sessions40
Completion of assessment task38
Wider reading or practice38
Project supervision6
Practical classes and workshops8
Supervised time in studio/workshop6
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

There are two summative assessments for this module. Assessment will follow the principles laid out in the University Quality Handbook. Full rubric will be circulated separately and made available on Blackboard: 1) Individual contribution to blog (50% of mark): a total of 3 blog entries (one for each block of the module). Marked in terms of evidence of use of resources (reading, film/podcast, images), reflection upon module sessions, and quality of understanding. 2) Group work in making an annotated exhibition catalogue (50% of mark). Marked in terms of extent of research, appropriateness and use resources beyond those provided in the on- line research pack, quality of response to issues explored within the module, quality of presentation, and contribution to group work. The exhibition will be published on-line (accessible only to members of UoS for copyright reasons). You will be given a brief to work to and will be asked to put together an annotated catalogue of images reflecting a range of issues explored within the module. You will be encouraged to use your own creativity in producing the catalogue to a high standard. Each group will be helped to construct a research timetable to enable you to complete this assessment associated with this module – seeing you carry out group based work outside of timetabled events. Formative assessment will take place through: 1) 2 x comments on blog posts of others 2) 2 x dedicated session to discuss exhibition catalogue preparation and to give feedback to students prior to submitting their exhibition catalogue


Group sessions


MethodPercentage contribution
Blog 50%
Group exhibition 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings