Florence Chiew interviews Maurizio Meloni on his new book, Impressionable Biologies: From the Archaeology of Plasticity to the Sociology of Epigenetics. The conversation reflects on a number of key themes and arguments in Meloni’s work, such as the use of the term ‘impressionability’ to explore longstanding ideas of the permeable body in constant flux in response to cosmological changes. This notion of the body-porous is one whose history Meloni traces back to ancient traditions and systems of medicine, such as humoralism. In this important book, Meloni makes a compelling argument for questioning the current emphasis on the novelty of biological plasticity as an exclusively contemporary phenomenon, and urges us to take a longer genealogical perspective to appreciate how histories of corporeal plasticity have always been part of deeply gendered, racialized and classed discourses in which social hierarchies have been made through physiological distinctions.
- corporeal plasticity