The body has come to occupy a central place in cultural history, with historians consistently exploring such themes as the history of disease, disability, beauty, and sexuality. This engaging and concise book offers a clear introduction to the history of the body, introducing a wide array of conceptual approaches to the field. It delineates the topic of body history and its origins in cultural history and gender history, distinguishing it from related disciplines such as the history of the self, the history of medicine, the history of emotion and gender history. Bringing in a wealth of thought-provoking examples from historical writing, it goes on to explore a range of themes, including racism, anorexia, gender and sexuality, psychoanalysis and agency. With further reading and explanations of key concepts provided throughout, this wide-ranging yet accessible text is the first introductory book to address this vibrant field from a theoretical perspective. It is ideal for students of historiography, medical history or the history of the body.