Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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164 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
December 2021
Print ISBN: 9780889616295


In this unique approach to the field of body studies, author, scholar, and educator Victoria Kannen explores what it means to exist in a body that is constantly on display and subjected to public scrutiny. Kannen examines the interplay of many ways our bodies express identity, such as gender, race, body size, sexuality, disability, body modification, and age, and how public scrutiny of those expressions can impact our public and private selves.

Intertwining personal narratives of self-identified “odd and awed” women with theoretical chapters that help to elucidate the role of social power, this volume tackles the stares, comments, and questions that are directed towards bodies in public space through original research, personal narratives, and artistic expression. As readers encounter the narratives and images throughout the book, they will be supported by scholarly chapters on embodiment, identity, resistance, and power to help analyze, reflect on, and critically engage with the content.

Through stories, theory, and art, this timely new resource will engage students and scholars of women’s and gender studies, sociology, critical disability studies, and body studies.


  • offers a unique understanding of interpretation and what it means to have a body that causes curiosity, discrimination, and lifelong interactions
  • accessible and engaging for students and scholars, as well as those outside of academia
  • provides creative and non-traditional opportunities for critical engagement with various embodiments

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Inspiring Awe, Feeling Odd.

Chapter 2: Well-Meaning Strangers: Identities, Stares, and Hair

Body Story: Nana

Body Story: Rae

Body Theories: Responding to Nana and Rae

Chapter 3: Our Bodies as Private and Public (Sexualized) Spaces

Body Story: Kali

Body Story: Alice

Body Theories: Responding to Kali and Alice

Chapter 4: Underestimated and Overdetermined: Shame, Tokenism, Exoticism, and Fierce Resistance

Body Story: Viola

Body Story: Gioia

Body Theories: Responding to Viola and Gioia

Chapter 5: Excessive Bodies: Modified and Un/Natural Freaks

Body Story: Quinn

Body Story: Victoria

Body Theories: Responding to Quinn and Victoria

Chapter 6: Bodies and Their Stories




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