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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

The Structural Study of "Exposure" and "Concealment"
- Desire & Identity (Exposure/Concealment in Culture) -

Hiroko Ara
3rd Year Student at the School of Culture, Media and Society

This course uses "exposure" and "concealment" to consider how culture is constructed. Just as human beings conceal their bodies with clothes and their faces with cosmetics, the structure of exposure/concealment exists somewhere in the matters which surround us. In order to consider this structure, this course features 10 instructors who each discuss the structure of exposure/concealment in the fields of philosophy, hospitality, art, architecture, dietary culture, fashion, cosmetics, and plastic surgery.

In the final class which served as a summary of the course, a discussion was held regarding the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden as portrayed in the Old Testament. Tempted by a snake, Eve ate fruit from the tree of knowledge, an act which had been forbidden by the Creator. Then, Eve invited Adam to eat the fruit as well. Upon eating the fruit, Adam and Eve realized that they were naked and covered their abdomens with fig leaves. Human beings were born naked; in other words, nakedness is our natural state. Therefore, covering our nakedness is akin to covering nature itself. The beginning of the culture of clothes can be seen in this story. It can be said that culture was born by covering nature.

Furthermore, different contexts can create different meanings for the concepts of "exposure" and "concealment", and the two concepts can become relative. Differences in conditions such as food, clothing, shelter, law, politics, and personal communication cause us to feel different emotions towards each of the subjects and to make different decisions. Our comprehension of culture is aided by using the structure of exposure/concealment to consider culture, which is a constantly changing concept that lacks absoluteness.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)