Embodied Agency



Course Number




Course Description

We are Homo sapiens, which is Latin for wise or knowing. Sapience comes from this root and refers to wise judgment, and judgment refers to the understanding of rightness or wrongness, usefulness, or value of activity and action. As humans we have named ourselves after our capacity for reflective awareness, we are aware that we are aware and within this awareness we must act and we must choose. With awareness comes language, which is paramount for our coordinated construction of identity, action, and culture. In order to have a sense of agency we must be able to choose some direction, some course of action, and coordinate activity, language, and relationships to produce our intentions. Although it is easy to take agency for granted, it is built on a highly complex and interdependent relationship between cultural practices and embodied activity. This course follows two major threads, embodiment and agency, to understand how they work together to create our movement through the world. Although “movement through the world” is seemingly simple, it is this very aspect that is the most complex and deserving of deep inquiry, as movement is contextual and understood through the ability to construct identity, feel our identity, and coordinate our experience to express our intentions. We will utilize the literature of embodiment, agency, and phenomenology to create and bolster our language and our conceptual understanding of choice and movement in context of self, culture, race, class, and gender. Simultaneously we will develop our natural and innate capacities for reflective awareness through mindfulness and somatic experiential learning.


FAIR 201.

Materials Fee


Required Texts

Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Culture 2009 by Carrie Noland

A. Brown Pleasure Activism

Several peer-reviewed articles supplied in class.  


S/NX grading; narrative evaluation

Regular and on-time attendance, informed & engaged discussion, and completion of all assignments: Four 3-5 page reading synopsis, mid term project, and a final collaborative presentation.



Fall 2023

Course Instructor(s)

Scot Nichols

Course Subject