IMAGES OF »THE BODY FOR OURSELVES AND FOR OTHERS«
This interdisciplinary project seeks to integrate several perspectives related to the body and personhood as they are experienced in multicultural urban contexts. Located at the crossroad of urban anthropology, psychoanalysis, and gender studies, it focuses on the notion of the body image in order to comprehend how individuals perceive and conceive of their place and sense of self in urban environments where they are exposed to physical diversity. American and European editions, translations, and adaptations of Our Bodies, Ourselves from the past fifty years are the primary sources, and the research investigates how they changed in tandem with their respective urban contexts to progressively give voice to domestic minorities. Related to »reciprocal anthropology« (Raulin and Rogers, 2015), this project seeks to document the notion of the »reciprocal gaze«, i.e., how the way that people simultaneously see and are seen is influenced by personal and social sets of moral and aesthetic values.
Anne Raulin was trained in anthropology and history both in France (Université Paris-Sorbonne) and in the United States (New School for Social Research, New York). She specialized in urban anthropology and worked alternatively in these two countries. In this field of research, she is the author of Anthropologie urbaine (2001–2014), Manhattan ou la mémoire insulaire (1997), L’ethnique est quotidien (2000), while teaching in France at the Sorbonne and at University of Paris-Nanterre. She co-directed a collective project on Reciprocal Anthropology, joining American and French colleagues with the support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, published in French (2012) and American (2015). She wrote extensively about the history of American anthropology, especially on authors such as Lewis Henry Morgan (2008, 2010), Margaret Mead (2006, 2021), and Abram Kardiner (2016) who connected anthropology and psychoanalysis. She is currently chairperson of the urban anthropology association AnthropoVilles/AnthropoCities.
First published in the United States in 1971, »Our Bodies, Ourselves« was repeatedly revised and reissued up to 2011. To date, it has appeared in thirty-three editions in various languages all over the world. These are not mere translations, but culturally sensitive adaptations of a book by women about their bodies. Authored by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, how did this collective enterprise, identified by its urban location, achieve such worldwide diffusion? This story is ongoing, as the most recent, completely revised French edition (2020) indicates.