Performing the ethical body in early modern health discourses

Start - End 
2019 - 2023 (ongoing)



The proposed project aims to deepen our understanding of the influence of Neo-Confucian ethics on the perception of the human body, particularly as seen in early modern Japanese popular vernacular literature on health cultivation (so-called books on ’nurturing life’ or yōjō). The research will focus mainly on the crucial period from the 18th into the early 19th century when the popularization of ‘nurturing life’ literature resulted in the wide dissemination of ideas about healthy living to a lay-audience, in the process inextricably linking the body’s materiality and its performance to moral imperatives. In this way, ideas about the body and bodily practices at the time reflect the gradual naturalization of NeoConfucian ethics, which became inscribed onto the body as rules and a regimen, which sought  to create bodies that were both physically and morally ‘healthy’.



Phd Student(s)