The Body Perfect: On Disability, Experience and the Aesthetics of Expertise.

Sauma, Julia F.. 2021. The Body Perfect: On Disability, Experience and the Aesthetics of Expertise. Teaching Anthropology, 10(1), pp. 71-75. ISSN 2053-9843 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This is a provocation. It does not aim for a seamless narrative. The erudition and argument that create narrative smoothness are identified, here, as indexes of the aesthetic values that define Brazilian and British academic training, values that I would like to unpack. Specifically, the suppression of those experiences perceived as less than perfect is what concerns me. Through my experiences as a Deaf anthropologist, I reflect on the relation between aesthetic values, a powerful need to maintain “the body perfect” and, consequently, labour separate from personal experience in Brazilian and British universities. By reflecting on how “the body perfect” emerges through a protection of whiteness, I also hope to begin to explore the relation between racism and ableism that infuses academic aesthetics of expertise. In doing so, my provocation contributes to opening up spaces where reimagining diversity can actually take place in the academy.

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Copyright for articles published in Teaching Anthropology is retained by their authors under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY). Users are allowed to copy, distribute, and transmit the work in any medium or format provided that the original authors and source are credited.


Disability, Deafness, Aesthetics, Experience, Whiteness

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology > GARP - Goldsmiths Anthropology Research Papers


3 August 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Jan 2024 11:30

Last Modified:

26 Jan 2024 11:39

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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