BOCULT - Centre for Research on Body Cultures in Motion

Department of Philosophy and moral sciences
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
Department of Languages and Cultures



Gastlezing Tom Ysewijn: ALLEEN DOOR AFRIKA: DE OPZIENBARENDE REIS VAN KAZIMIERZ NOWAK (1931-1936), 29.4.2024, 11h30—12h45, lokaal 1.13, Blandijnberg, 9000 Gent.

Africa Platform: Making Men: Masculinity, Myth and Paradox - Documentary and Live Dance Performance*** De Centrale - Ghent, 25 April 2024

Corinna May Lhoir: The Birth of Yoga. 11.3.2024 at 16:00, Blandijnberg 2, room 6.60.

Abstract: Can the "birth" of yoga be traced back to a single verse, a sentence in an early Upaniṣad? I am of the opinion that it can. In this lecture, I will try to provide evidence for this. First, however, it is important to define the framework: What exactly do we mean by the term yoga? And is our understanding of it today comparable to the understanding of the term at the time when my selected verse was presumably written? Yoga today, our body-centered asana practice with occasional excursions into self-reflection and meditation, is certainly in no way comparable to the contemplation practice of the first centuries of the first millennium before our time, and it was precisely at this time that the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, which contains my verse, was written.

International Workshop: "Creating Ethical Bodie"s, 15-16.8.2023, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Ghent, Room 6.60. Program and abstracts

Kick-off meeting of the DFG-funded international research network "Traveling Bodies" (May 8-10, 2023) link + press release

2nd Meeting of the international Network "Traveling Bodies", February 3, 2023, 12:00-14:00, online.

Inaugural Meeting: Cross-Channel Health Humanities Network, 14.12.2022, 09:00-16:00, Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS), University of Kent, Espace Rolin, Boulevard Louis Schmidt 2a, 1040 Brussels.

Theories of Embodiment in Japan: Introducing New Research from Ghent University, Kyoto, Nichibunken evening seminar: Theories of Embodiment in Japan: Introducing New Research from Ghent University, 8.12., 13:30-15:00, International Research Center for Japanese Studies
3-2 Goryo Oeyama, Nishikyo, Kyoto, 610-1192, Japan and Zoom 

“Reisende Körper/ Traveling Bodies" Prof. Dr. Uta Schaffers (German Department) and Prof. Dr. Nicole Maruo-Schröder (Department of English and American Studies) talk about the role of bodies in travel writing. The talk (in German) is part of the "Kolloquium am Kap" organized by the German Departments of the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6pm. Link (Meeting ID: 812 0597 4048, Passcode: 375021)

From SOIREES DE BELGIQUE TO SPECTACLES POPULAIRES - Shifting Publics, Subsidized Theater and Late Colonial Policits in the Belgian Congo, 1949-1960. By Emily Hardick (Ohio State University). Wednesday 9 November 2022, 14:30-17:15, Room 0.2 Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent.

Healing the People: Popularizing and Printing Medicine in Edo Japan. 20-21.5.2022 Link

PhD and MA Workshop with Matthias Hayek (Paris): Divination Practice, Body and Medicine. 21.3.2022. UFO, Henri Pirenne, 14-18:00.

Workshop with Kuriyama Shigehisa: Proof of Concept Workshop. 8.12.2021 (Harvard-Ghent SIP scheme, Online)

Lecture: Kuriyama Shigehisa (Harvard University): 'How to Evoke Happy Ordinary Places - Hints from 19th century Japan', 10 Novmeber 2021 (also Harvard-Ghent SIP scheme, Online)

Lecture series "Topics in Text and Material Culture". Organized by IMAP Kyushu University and BOCULT Ghent University January-February 2021 (online)

Internationl Workshop: Challenging Olympic Narratives in Japan. 19.-20.12.2019 Link

Koblenz-Ghent Workshop: Traveling Bodies: the Corporeal Dynamics of Experience in Travel Writing and in Embodied Cognition Research 18.-19.9.2019

Gender Research Seminar: 9-11 September 2019: Embodiment and the Performativity of Gender: Link

Roundtable: Jon Davidann (Hawai'i Pacific University). Conceptualizing the Limits of Westernization and Concepts of the Body in Japan. 27.5.2019

Kent-Ghent Asian Studies Day: Health, Well-Being and the Body. 18.5.2019, Kent University. Link

International Workshop: Japanese Body Culture and Sport in Textual and Visual Representations. 20.-21.2.2019 Link


Since the late 1980s the ‘body’ is a central object of research in cultural studies. In the Department of Languages and Cultures several researchers are dealing with questions related to “performing bodies”. The concept of performing bodies next to ‘figurations’ focuses on historical and cultural “movements of bodies” as well as “moved bodies” and the social, political and media-related technical constraints. The suggested research group will, bring together researchers from different fields and will focus on corporeal practices and the relation of body and performance – respecting the backdrop of the complex and ever-changing history of those terms. Key aspects of cultural studies like individual, collective and cultural identities, perception and interpretation, self-assertion, gender assignments, culture of commemoration and remembrance, are approached beyond static descriptions of symbolic systems in consideration of relativity and effectiveness dissolving single disciplines’ limitations. Certain concepts are considered crucial in the approach of the research group:

1. Corporeal practices as well as semantics coined by bodies and concentrating on practices which create, preserve, reproduce, and change collective systems of value; 2. The body perceived as a processual, historical and alterable/modifiable entity while they at the same time realize the body’s functionalities and fixations (Foucault, Butler et al.), not operating through awareness or sense or not exclusively taking place between humans (for example Animal Studies in terms of humans as animal amongst others); 3. The body as medium of communication such as cultural techniques, or at the body as agitated and destabilized places, which permanently expand the boundaries but also bodies as object of order and production of knowledge (gender studies, dramatics, etc.); 4. The body as the “first and most natural instrument of mankind“ (Mauss) that is able to cultivate and professionalize specific corporeal techniques, both in the “Zweiheit” (“duality” acc. to Gugutzer) of the tangible body and the intangible body as the place of sensual perception and subject constitution, and addressing questions on the relation of one body to the other, the connection of body and technology, body and media, etc.

BOCULT is also housing the FWO research project: Het ethische lichaam creëren: Neoconfucianistische ethiek in de populaire gezondheidsliteratuur van het vroegmodern Japan (Creating the Ethical Body: Neo-Confucian Ethic in popular health literature in early modern Japan) promoted by Angelika Koch (Leiden) and Andreas Niehaus. Linked to the project is also PhD student Stephanie van Rentergem.


Speaker and Contact of the Research Centre is Prof. Dr. Andreas Niehaus (




Uta Schaffers

Universität Koblenz-Landau

Joy Zhang

University of Kent

Jonathan Mair

University of Kent

Leslie de Vries

Kent University

Nicole Maruo-Schröder

Universität Koblenz-Landau

Matthias Jung

Universität Koblenz-Landau

Andreas Regelsberger

Universität Trier

Affiliated Members