Department of History of Science and Ideas

Cancelled! Anna Maerker: "Histories of the body and histories of the book: reading practices and the uses of nineteenth-century anatomical models"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken - The Rausing Room
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: H. Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

Office for History of Science

Please note: cancelled!

Anna Maerker, King's College London: "Histories of the body and histories of the book: reading practices and the uses of nineteenth-century anatomical models"


Abstract
The long nineteenth century saw an explosion of experimental new ways to visualise the (normal and pathological) body in two and three dimensions; from the detachable wooden model of a man by the Florentine naturalist Felice Fontana around 1800 to projections of the beating heart in lecture theatres in the 1890s. The paper investigates two case studies of anatomical representation, the “living encyclopaedia” developed and marketed by the French physician Dr Felix Thibert, and the papier-mâché models of Dr Auzoux.  Auzoux manufactured models of the normal human body in serial production since the 1830s; the models were brightly coloured and extensively labelled. The robust papier-mâché enabled hands-on interaction – a form of ‘dissection’. In the same period, Thibert produced plaster casts of pathological lesions, both of the body’s surface and its interior. These plaster reliefs were painted, and stored in book-shaped boxes, accompanied by the deceased patients’ case histories. The paper will explore how the models by Thibert and Auzoux adopted features and practices relating to other objects of the period, from books to collections of casts. In particular, the paper will raise the question how the insights of recent histories of the book can inform scholarship on the history of anatomy, and how practices of reading related to practices of model use.