Author

Jake Levy

Date of Award

2012

First Advisor

Asma Abbas

Second Advisor

Joan DelPlato

Abstract

Straying away from popular conceptions of hypochondria, this thesis is my attempt to both discover and rethink the forms of this unique illness along the lines of political history and place. Departing from clinical studies of hypochondria, which almost always reduce any analysis to the limited terrain of the individual’s psychology, I argue that we can neither understand nor reconcile this bizarre illness unless we look at the sociopolitical order that makes an individual subject governable by medicine. Drawing on avenues as diverse, but essentially related, as the political world inaugurated by the medical administration, aesthetic ideologies built around the body, and the evolution of the subject in modern fashion, I will present a way of understanding how the hypochondriac is produced, and a way of interpreting how this political subject navigates the spaces that produce it.

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