In these innovative essays, Vivian Sobchack considers the key role our bodies play in making sense of today's image-saturated culture. Emphasizing our corporeal rather than our intellectual engagements with film and other media, Carnal Thoughts shows how our experience always emerges through our senses and how our bodies are not just visible objects but also sense-making, visual subjects. Sobchack draws on both phenomenological philosophy and a broad range of popular sources to explore bodily experience in contemporary, moving-image culture. She examines how, through the conflation of cinema and surgery, we've all "had our eyes done"; why we are "moved" by the movies; and the different ways in which we inhabit photographic, cinematic, and electronic space. Carnal Thoughts provides a lively and engaging challenge to the mind/body split by demonstrating that the process of "making sense" requires an irreducible collaboration between our thoughts and our senses.
Vivian Sobchack is Professor and Associate Dean in the School of Theater, Film, and Television at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film (1997) and The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience (1992) and the editor of Meta-Morphing: Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick Change (2000) and The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television, and the Modern Event (1996), among other books.
“A dazzling collection of essays. . . . Sobchack accomplishes her task with concrete examples drawn from familiar realms, peppered with some very spry, feminist wit.”—Chris Chang Film Comment
"Powerfully written and movingly personal, Carnal Thoughts
consistently demonstrates what an embodied film criticism might actually be. Sobchack is insistent, impassioned, and persuasive in her attempt to show how cinematic spectatorship is always more than visual. The scholarship is superior, the organization is strong, and the literary style is accomplished, engaging, and polished. This is an extremely important work."—Patrice Petro, author of Aftershocks of the New
wonderfully conveys the phenomenolgical aim of Sobchack's work. It is an important contribution to the field. It is also accessible and almost scandalously fun to read. The voice of a wise, eloquent and witty woman emerges from these pages and keeps the reader constantly engaged. "—Linda Williams, author of Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson