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The Lasting Impressions of Biopower

The Lasting Impressions of Biopower BENJAMIN J. MURPHY Kyla Schuller provides a remarkable re-evaluation of all terms indicated in her study’s subtitle: race, sex, and science in the American nineteenth century intersect in the concept of “impressibility,” which Schuller fi nds infl uencing fi elds and practices from moral philosophy to uplift politics to orphan resettlement to gynecology. Schuller’s introduction and fi rst chapter establish what is meant by “impressibility.” Impressibility names a body’s ability to respond to, and incorporate, environmental impressions over the course of an organism’s lifetime, as well as through the evolutionary durée of species formation. Impressibility thus has two poles of application. On the one hand, the individual is shaped by the impressions of external stimuli. But this is no passive state of being molded. Whereas impressionability would refer to a fully malleable organism that simply gives way to whatever is imposed from without, impressibility—in contrast—connotes “agential responsiveness” (7). Schuller proffers the helpful distinction between refl ex and refl ection: whereas the former is automatic and unthinking, the latter requires mediation and conscious application (4). Just as the impressible organism moves through life managing formative impressions, so too does a species emerge slowly as the cumulative product of environmental interactions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke uni_neb

The Lasting Impressions of Biopower

symploke , Volume 26 (1) – Nov 28, 2018

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 symploke.
ISSN
1534-0627

Abstract

BENJAMIN J. MURPHY Kyla Schuller provides a remarkable re-evaluation of all terms indicated in her study’s subtitle: race, sex, and science in the American nineteenth century intersect in the concept of “impressibility,” which Schuller fi nds infl uencing fi elds and practices from moral philosophy to uplift politics to orphan resettlement to gynecology. Schuller’s introduction and fi rst chapter establish what is meant by “impressibility.” Impressibility names a body’s ability to respond to, and incorporate, environmental impressions over the course of an organism’s lifetime, as well as through the evolutionary durée of species formation. Impressibility thus has two poles of application. On the one hand, the individual is shaped by the impressions of external stimuli. But this is no passive state of being molded. Whereas impressionability would refer to a fully malleable organism that simply gives way to whatever is imposed from without, impressibility—in contrast—connotes “agential responsiveness” (7). Schuller proffers the helpful distinction between refl ex and refl ection: whereas the former is automatic and unthinking, the latter requires mediation and conscious application (4). Just as the impressible organism moves through life managing formative impressions, so too does a species emerge slowly as the cumulative product of environmental interactions.

Journal

symplokeuni_neb

Published: Nov 28, 2018

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