Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Affective entanglements: shifting attitudes toward the ancient Greek body

Peart, Alex-Jaden (2024) Affective entanglements: shifting attitudes toward the ancient Greek body. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


This work is rooted in my understanding that the ancient Greek world’s conceptions of Nature and natures-in-the-world are fundamentally affective and entangled. In the chapter entitled “Somatophobia: Anxieties of Subjection,” I study the Homeric uses of the word sōma, arguing that, as opposed to the dominant belief that it purely means “corpse,” it displays a fear of becoming objected to culturally inadmissible forms of subjection. Moving away from the reading of sōma as simply a matter of death, I make the claim that sōma’s inertness is a pivotal notion in the (re)casting of it as irrecuperable for social life. I contend that sōma may be understood as a material form that has been stripped of its instrumentality (i.e., its ability to be an active agent) and, thereafter, exposed to improper and culturally inadmissible forms of subjection and consumption.

Concluding that this sōma is an epistemic and conceptual object, in chapter two, “Holistic Networks of Care, Perception, and Community,” I argue that this medicalized sōma is the form that comes to be articulated as the subject of anthropologically driven care that emerges out of the peri phúseōs historía (“inquiry into nature”) tradition and the emergence of medicine as a tékhnē (“technical craft”) with significant resonances philosophical and enviro-medical discourses. I understand this body, one deeply porous and liable to “affection” (páthē), to be a response particularly to the latter, and I postulate that the innovatively ethnographic tinge of the Hippocratic Corpus’ "On Airs, Waters, Places" (c. fifth-century B.C.E.) reveals the exegetical nature of medicine as implicit in the explication and perpetuation of communities that share nomoí (“customs”), a particular look, a glôssa (“language”), and geographic space. Nonetheless, this type of deeply shared community building abounds, too, in the creation of firm boundaries.

I attend to this dichotomy in the third chapter, “Sunalgeîn: Community, Kátharsis, and Exclusion,” wherein I study the ability of unique ability of tragedy, in its provocations of éleos (“pity”) and phóbos (“fear”), to both extend and withhold ties of empathy within and beyond a proscribed group, appealing to Aeschylus’ "Suppliants" (c. 463 B.C.E.) as my case-study.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Peart, Alex-Jadenalex-jaden@pitt.edualp232
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorLee, Ellenellen.lee@pitt.edueml114
Committee MemberNappi, Carlanappi@pitt.edunappi
Committee MemberWein, Andrewjaw459@pitt.edujaw459
Committee MemberHolmes,
Date: 3 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 April 2024
Approval Date: 3 May 2024
Submission Date: 19 April 2024
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 129
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Classics
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ancient Greek history; human body; Greco-roman medicine; materia medica; ancient philosophy; greek tragedy; Homer; epic; Ancient Greece; intellectual history; Aeschylus; Empedocles; Hippocrates; Aristotle; health sciences; mind and body; Classics; affect; poetics; immigration studies; sōma; catharsis
Date Deposited: 03 May 2024 16:21
Last Modified: 03 May 2024 16:21


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item