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Why are we so conflicted about childbirth? Simultaneously thought to be natural, unnatural, pornographic, obscene and beautiful, our attitudes about birth harbor our deepest convictions about life, creativity and vitality. It is fair to say, according to Sanzaro, that birth is in a state of crisis. By taking a multi-disciplinary approach, grounded in psychoanalysis, philosophy, film theory, visual art, etc., and combining current events with pop-culture analyses, while also utilizing new research from the fields of medicine, trauma and sexuality, the author is able to argue that, as it is repressed, banned and censored today, childbirth imagery should be classified as a unique type of image—the grotesque. The Infantile Grotesque, therefore, is a critique of culture but begins with a single phenomenon—childbirth. The Infantile Grotesque not only reframes the debate about how birth is, and isn’t viewed, but provides a diagnostic through which to view the vitality of culture. It will be of interest not only to academics, but also anyone interested in pop-culture, media studies, and/or obtaining a deeper understanding of how a species could turn its back on its own process of reproduction.
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Francis Sanzaro received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University. His most recent publications include The Boulder: A Philosophy for Bouldering and The Useless Society: Nature, Humanity and Culture in the Age of Automation (forthcoming in 2016). His articles and fiction have appeared in Happy Hipocrite, Greyrock Review, Continental Philosophy Review, Counter Culture, Sierra Nevada Review, Rock and Ice Magazine, U.K. Climbing, The Baltimore Post Examiner and Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, among many others. Currently, he is working on a 21st century Stoic-inspired manual on the art of living.
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