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Press Release:


FAU’s Center for Body, Mind and Culture Presents ‘Mindful Body in Healing and the Arts’

BOCA RATON, FL (December 21, 2011) – The Center for Body, Mind and Culture in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University is hosting an international conference titled, “Mindful Body in Healing and the Arts: Explorations in Somaesthetics” on Thursday, January 19 and Friday, January 20, 2012 in the Arts and Humanities Building on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. The conference will examine the various ways that mindful body consciousness can contribute to health, healing and aesthetic experience. Speakers will address the premise that the human body is not merely a physical mechanism but a sentient, sensitive, purposive subjectivity, or mindful soma that is also shaped by the society in which it dwells.

The conference’s keynote lecturer is Anne Harrington, Ph.D., professor of the history of science at Harvard University and author of The Cure Withinand other important books relating to mind-body medicine. Her lecture, titled “Healing Our Bodies: Why Culture Matters,” will take place on Thursday, January 19, at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building, room 101. A reception will follow.

Other featured speakers will relate body consciousness to the arts. Professor Peng Feng, chair of the art theory and criticism department at Peking University, China and curator of this year’s Chinese Pavilion at Venice Biennale Art show, will speak about “Somaesthetics and Contemporary Art.” Parisian artist Yann Toma, a professor at the Sorbonne, will talk about his artistic explorations in visually capturing somatic energy and aura. Paul C. Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and chair of African-American Studies at Penn State University will discuss how having a black First-Family in the White House transforms America’s sense of somaesthetics. Other speakers will be coming from universities in Italy, Canada, Colombia, England, Finland, and Japan, as well as many other American institutions. Their presentation topics range from arts-related body therapies to notions of healing in literature and strategies of mindful eating to improve both health and aesthetic pleasure.

“I am delighted that the Center is organizing this important international and transdisciplinary conference which highlights the multiple values of mindful body consciousness in healing and the arts,” said Richard Shusterman, Ph.D., Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities and director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture. “Too often our society divides the fields of medicine and aesthetics, material body and creative spirit. Here at the Center the goal is to explore new directions that integrate scientific, humanistic, and artistic research into somatic health, cognition, and beauty and the forms of culture that best shape their flourishing.” This is the seventh international conference of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture since it was established in 2007.

There is no conference registration fee, however advanced registration is required. To register or for more information on the conference, visit or email


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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