Glasgow History of Medicine Seminar
In partnership with The Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow.
Tea/coffee from 5pm. Lecture begins at 5:30pm.
Focusing on the late 19th century, Dr. Jessica M. Dandona investigates how physicians in three centres of medical training — Paris, Edinburgh, and Philadelphia — conceptualised the female reproductive body in visual terms. Created during a time of growing interest in public health and widespread anxiety over high rates of infant mortality, these representations define the female anatomical body as youthful, fertile, and above all productive: the female body is, without exception, a pregnant body. Dr. Dandona will compare conventional modes of representing the maternal form, such as wax models and engravings, with fin-de-siècle bodily simulacra—colorful flap anatomies, paper ‘manikins,’ stereoscopic photographs, and early radiographs that, like earlier forms of imaging the pregnant body, circulated across national and disciplinary borders. Common to all of these images and objects, she will argue, was a desire for transparency that sought to open the female reproductive body to the medical gaze in order to reveal the ‘truth’ of its hidden ‘secrets.’ This fascination with the penetration and mapping of the maternal body, she will show, parallels and even foregrounds developments in the material practice of medicine, including the increasing use of surgical procedures such Cesearean section.
Jessica M. Dandona, Ph.D. is an art historian and a 2018–19 Fulbright Scholar based at the University of Dundee.