What does pain mean? This course will investigate the question of suffering in the contemporary world, and in doing so, it will approach various sites where pain matters, examining different discursive practices which attempt to speak of pain – or alternatively, claim that pain is what cannot be spoken. We will discuss the experience of the body in pain and the relation of pain to knowledge. Topics to be addressed will include pain in a medical context; torture and the political uses of pain; sexuality and pain; the expressibility of pain. We will examine two archetypes of “the tortured artist”, Freida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock, and will inquire whether pain can be made meaningful.