Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A10. Bodies and Wonders: Art, Truth, History

The human body has been a site of knowledge for centuries. Its study, its dissection, and its representations have shaped cultural, historical, social, and artistic understandings. As an extension of the ideal concept of the perfected human body, its monstrous counterparts have served as distorted mirrors that have emphasized the discourse on normative anatomy. Additionally, in an age of discoveries, Nature’s many mysteries ignited passions and her secrets were seen as wonders.This First Year Seminar will explore all of these ideas in the context of the Renaissance and beyond. The students will work with 17th-century objects and will question the truth of what they see: was a dragon “real”? what is a “wildman”? who knew the “secrets of women”? Ultimately, the students will leave this First Year Seminar having acquired the ability to decipher meaning in images, to know the importance of historical narrative, and to wonder at their own concept of truth.

Touba GhadessiTouba Ghadessi
Associate Professor of Art History