Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in America, 1880-1930 April 7, 2010, 5:30

By , March 11, 2010

COUNTWAY LIBRARY NOTABLE BOOK LECTURE

April 7, 2010, 5:30 PM
The Center for the History of Medicine at the Countway Library of Medicine invites you to attend a lecture to celebrate the opening of the exhibit:

Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in America, 1880-1930

From the advent of photography in the 19th century and into the 20th century, medical students, often in secrecy, took photographs of themselves with the cadavers that they dissected. The photographs were made in a variety of forms, from proud class portraits to staged dark-humor scenes, from personal documentation to images reproduced on postcards sent in the mail. Poignant, strange, disturbing, and humorous, they are all compelling.
Based on the revealing book Based on the revealing book Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in America, 1880-1930 by John Harley Warner and Jim Edmondson, the Center for the History of Medicine presents images of late 19th and early 20th century medical students posing around anatomical dissection tables. The highly stylized arrangements of students, dissection tables, cadavers, instruments and body parts suggest that these images were representations of a widely spread medical rite-of-passage.
On April 7th at 5:30 pm, in the Countway Library’s Minot Room, the authors will discuss the astonishing social realities of the pursuit of medical knowledge in 19th- and early-20th-century America.’

  • James M. Edmonson, PhD, “Re-discovering a lost genre of medical portraiture: the genesis of Dissection”
  • John Harley Warner, PhD, “Posing with the Cadaver: Human Dissection, Photography, and the Image of Modern Medicine at the Turn of the 20th Century”

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: James M. Edmonson, PhD, is Chief Curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. John Harley Warner, PhD, is the Avalon Chair of the Section of the History of Medicine at Yale University.

Refreshments will be served.

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