Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Second Department

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Lori Marso




literary criticism, somaticism, body image


In this thesis, I seek to complicate traditional readings of embodiment in the work of Simone de Beauvoir by positing an alternative reading that stresses somaticism. Positioning myself within the tradition of historical political thought I track Beauvoir’s intellectual development to demonstrate that reading Beauvoirian bodies within the framework of phenomenological embodiment only discloses part of Beauvoir’s theoretical interests. Whereas the traditional conception of Beauvoirian bodies largely derives from a phenomenological vernacular, primarily concentrated on the notion of embodied consciousness, I advance a complimentary but alternative reading located within contemporary somatic discourses. By reading Beauvoir’s early interests as somatic I hope to disclose a Beauvoir concerned with the body experienced as de-systematized, sensorial, visceral, and corporeal. My first chapter examines some of the traditional readings of Beauvoir emanating from her own corpus and both applied and critical readings of her political theory. This analysis suggests that readings of the Beauvoirian body have been traditionally read as ‘embodied situation.’ Seeking to remove Beauvoir from this reading, I make a claim about an active and animate somatic body to be found in Beauvoir’s aesthetic, namely literary theory and criticism.