Human Body Throughout History 1

Subject is not scheduled Display Schedule

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
204TLH1 Z 1 2T Czech winter

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

Familiarising students of acting, direction and dramaturgy with the concept of the:

  1. body from Classical times to today;
  2. the body in non-European cultures;
  3. the body as „the body I have“ and „the body I am“;
  4. the body in space and time of the theatre and everyday life;
  5. the body as sign and conversation;
  6. inter-disciplinary humanisation of education leading to a universal view of the world which confronts the dangerous narrowness of practicality.

Mode of study

Lecture, moderated discussion and contact instruction in comparative studies.

Prerequisites and co-requisites

  1. Capacity for interpretation.
  2. Contemplating „what I am“ in my role.
  3. Wondering if I can create a world in which it's possible to live.

Course contents


  1. Relationship to corporeality as the basic criterion for all cultures.
  2. Concepts of physical, cultural, social and philosophical anthropology, as reflected in acting.
  3. The will, happiness, freedom, love in history and in relation to a consumer society.
  4. The body, society, language, world.
  5. The human face and its masks.
  6. Ethics, mimesis and catharsis.


The body and its presence on the stage in roles throughout time constitute a laboratory of hermeneutics. The fullness or emptiness of the actor's performance depend on approaches to the mechanisms of the body. From a vertical appreciation of corporeality it's clear that people are still asking the same questions on the „stage of life“. In history these can be summarised in several points: the animated body, Socrates' „care of the soul“ compared with the body as an instrument; the impersonal body of Classical times, the body as a gift of the Christian Middle Ages; the Renaissance discovery of the body, its freedom, the right to happiness and also the body as the right of the stronger, the abuse of the body, the doubting of the body inherent in Mannerism („better not to be“), its loss in the disorganisation of the world; the Baroque restoration of reverence for the body (in the great „theatre of the world“), the body on the path to the open, Romantic revolt of the body - the Titanic body; Rousseau's sentimental body; the Enlightened „paradox of the actor“ and the view of the body from the other side (Voltaire); the body and spectacle at its suffering; the Symbolist body merging with the voice; the Expressionist scream of the body, the truth of the body hidden beneath the surface; war as the rape of the body; the modern body, the right to your own body, consummation of the body; I want to be a machine; Western revolt of the body; salvation of the body in the ethics of consumption; the century of sexuality; despair at the body and its destruction. Everything from the angle of view: the body's appearance on the stage as a source of hope.

Recommended or required reading

Jan Patočka, Tělo, jazyk, společenství, svět

Ruth Arendtová, Život ducha

Ruth Arendtová, Krize kultury

Peter Brook, Pohyblivý bod

Peter Brook, Prázdný prostor

Roland Barthes, Mytologie

Kazimierz Braun, Druhá divadelní reforma

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Viditelné a neviditelné

E.T. Hall, The Silent Language

E.T. Hall, The Language of Space

E.T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension

Jean Starobinskij, L'Oeil vivant (Živé oko, 1961)

M. Čechov, O herecké technice

D. Diderot, Herecký paradox + Jos. Šafařík, Člověk ve věku stroje

E. Goffman, Všichni hrajeme divadlo

E. Goffman, Vztahy na veřejnosti

G. Marcel, K filosofii naděje

Irena Sławiňska, Divadlo v současném myšlení

D. Le Breton, Des visages (1992)

D. Le Breton, Antropologie du corps et modernité (1990)

D. Le Breton, La sociologie du corps (1992)

Eugenio Barba, Nicola Savarese, Tajné umění herce, 1999

Victor Turner, The Ritual Process, 1969

Victor Turner, From ritual to theatre, 1982

Richard Schechner, Between theater and anthropology, 1985

R. Schechner, Performance Theory (1994)

R. Schechner, The Future of Ritual (1993)

R. Schechner, Between Theater and Anthropology (1985)

E. Barba, Theatre: Solitude, Craft, Revolt (2001)

Assessment methods and criteria

During the semester independent reading and written work is required which is a condition for taking the exam.


An elective course for a limited number of AMU students.

Instruction schedule see: www DAMU / katedra ALD / Pro studenty / Rozvrhy

Further information

This course is an elective for all AMU students

Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:

room R210
Učebna R210 (DAMU)

(Karlova 26, Praha 1)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Tue 15:00–16:30 Jana PILÁTOVÁ Učebna R210 (DAMU)
Karlova 26, Praha 1

Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans