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Anna Kuslits, PhD candidate, visiting from University of Ednburgh

Tue February 26th 2019, 4:00 - 5:00pm
Pigott Hall Building 260, Room 244

Anatomical Collecting in the Age of Politeness: Assembling the Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh, c.1720-1798

Anatomical museums often elicit a peculiar sense of unease from modern-day audiences. Remnants of an age when medical men habitually appropriated the bodies of those at the fringes of society for research and teaching, historical anatomical collections attest to some of the cruellest practices that form part of our medical cultural heritage.

In this talk, I want to conjure up a different history of anatomical collecting. Using findings from my research on the Monro Collection, I will argue that anatomical collecting, at least in eighteenth-century Edinburgh, is better understood as an extension of a culture of polite sociability invested with the positive values of social and cultural improvement and of social participation and cohesion.