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More in this section Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture

The Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture


The Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture (CSBMC) is a unique group of researchers who explore the changing relationship between the body and the surrounding material world from the Antiquity to the present day. The Centre brings together scholars of health and intimacy, politics and identity, consumption and urban planning and visual and material culture with the intention of promoting intellectual exchange and collaboration in this new field.

Since its foundation in 2009, the CSMBC, directed by Sandra Cavallo and Jane Hamlett, has hosted a series of high-profile research projects funded by large grants, and developed an innovative themed seminar series (2010-11 The Body in Bed; 2011-12 Fashioning the Body; 2012-13 Imbibing Bodies: Histories of Drinking and Culture; 2013-14 Travel: Bodies and Objects in Motion;2014-15 Material Culture and Agency). This year's series will focus on Emotions and Material Culture.

There are three Honorary Research Associates based at the Centre, we welcome Visiting Fellows and there are currently nine PhD students working on associated projects.

The Centre currently covers a broad range of themes and a wide geographical scope. They include the study of:

  • Byzantine medical texts as artefacts and their impact on therapies
  • The body in its relationship to the physical environment, especially the disease environment, and to the provision of health care across late antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • Changing ideas and practices of healthy lifestyles and salubrious houses in Italy between 1500 and 1700
  • The royal and aristocratic body in early modern Europe
  • The study of the body as a microcosm of the universe and politics in the Middle Eastern and Islamic perspective
  • The material culture of the homes and gardens in Victorian and Edwardian England
  • The impact of the design, decoration and furnishing of residential institutional spaces on the experiences of their inmates in early modern Europe and 19th century Britain
  • The development of networks for the transmission of goods in modern China
  • Middle-class housing and consumption in Muslim South Asia
  • The impact of urban development and city planning on people’s experience in post-colonial Pakistan
  • The body and medicine in twentieth-century Britain, especially professional bodies
  • The cultural transmission of values and beliefs in memory, especially in relation to the consumption of food
  • The origins and development of family photographs and the material and visual cultures of the photographic postcard in modern Britain.

Click here for a full list of associated staff, research interests and publications.







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