Somatics, Scholarship, Somatic Scholarship: Materiality and Metaphor. UC Berkeley.


Somatics, Scholarship, Somatic Scholarship: Materiality and Metaphor




The one-day event will convene scholar-practitioners Marianne Constable (Rhetoric, UC Berkeley), Galen Cranz (Architecture, UC Berkeley), Michael Lucey (French & Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley), and Petra Kuppers (English, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), to share their reflections on the relationship between their involvement in body-mind practices and their scholarly, learning, and teaching practices. This event will generate critical conversation around ways to expand explorations of how putative divides such as mind/body, writing/moving, inner/outer, subject/object shape and are shaped by our embodied practices of thinking, researching, writing, and moving.

The event will begin with morning practical workshops in Iyengar yoga (Professor Lucey), the Feldenkrais Method (Professor Constable), The Alexander Technique (Professor Cranz), and social somatics/participatory performance (Professor Kuppers). In the afternoon, following a roundtable discussion with graduate students, we will hold a panel discussion and Q&A with the symposium participants. The event will culminate in a catered reception. The morning workshops are open to the Berkeley campus community (pre-registration required due to participant cap), and the panel discussion and reception are open to the broader Bay Area community. All events are free.

Schedule of Events

10:00-12:00 Practical workshops in Iyengar yoga, The Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, and Olimpias social somatics/participatory performance [Bancroft Studios-UC Berkeley students only; pre-registration required]

12:30-1:30 Roundtable discussion/lunch [Dwinelle Annex 126-graduate students only]

2:00-4:00 Panel Discussion with Q&A [Durham Studio Theater-open to campus and wider community]

4:00-5:00 Reception [Durham Studio Theater-open to campus and wider community]


Participant Bios

Marianne Constable is Professor of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley, where she specializes in legal rhetoric and philosophy.  She is currently spending her sabbatical at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, where she is writing a book on the “new unwritten law” that ostensibly exonerated most women who killed their husbands in Chicago at the turn of the 19th-20th century.  She has received both undergraduate and graduate mentoring awards and  received her certification as a Feldenkrais Method (R) practitioner in 2005.

Galen Cranz is Professor of Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D. sociologist from the University of Chicago, and a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. She is the author of The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body and Design. Professor Cranz teaches social and cultural approaches to architecture and urban design. Emphasizing ethnography as a research method, she brings users’ as well as creators’ perspectives to our understanding of built environments. Professor Cranz wants to help students become better artistically by helping them interpret and feel social forces. Her approach to teaching is learning-centered, rather than teaching-centered, so she emphasizes experiential learning. She is passionate about bringing experience of the unified self back into the classroom and workplace.

Petra Kuppers Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and a Professor at the University of Michigan. She also teaches on Goddard College’s Low Residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. She leads The Olimpias, a performance research collective ( Her Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape (Palgrave, 2011, paperback 2013) explores The Olimpias’ arts-based research methods. She is the author of a new textbook, Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction (Palgrave, 2014). Her books include Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (Routledge, 2003), The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performance and Contemporary Art (Minnesota, 2007) and Community Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007). Edited work includes Somatic Engagement (2011), and Community Performance: A Reader (2007).

Michael Lucey is Professor of French and Comparative Literature. Professor Lucey specializes in French literature and culture of the 19th- and 20th-centuries. He also teaches about social, literary, and critical theory, sexuality studies, 19th- and 20th-century British literature and culture, and 20th-century American literature and culture.  He has written on authors such as Gide, Balzac, Proust, Colette, Genet, Beauvoir, Leduc, and Duras. Having recently completed his fourth book, Someone, he is now at work on a new project with the title “Proust, Sociology, Talk, Novels: The Novel Form and Language-in-Use.” Professor Lucey stumbled into an Iyengar yoga class in England in 1982, while he was a student at Oxford, and from his very first class has been fascinated by the many ways yoga can transform your relation to your body, mind, and breath. A certified Iyengar teacher, he has made eight trips to India to study with Iyengar family. He teaches at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco and is also currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States.