Indeed, I need to get some time off and work on my blog (not tweet), as Nein. @NeinQuarterlyobserved. Lately, I have overly indulgedmyself in browsing through tumblrs and blogs with funny gifs about (the challenged) life in Academia, PhD or post-doc life (some great examples, here and here and here– ok, I should stop now 🙂 )- after all, to quote the same Nein, “Happy academics know that the secret is to be a bitter academic”.
Thus, after a healthy and consistent portion of self-pitying/reinforcing, I get back to some meaningful “procrastination”- talking about my research. So, what is it that I really do in real life?
At the moment (though of course the reader should take this “moment” a little loosely 😛 ) I am trying to understand the way the human body was talked about, represented, manipulated and turned in an archived object in the work of one of the early (physical) anthropologists, Francisc I. Rainer. Francisc I. Rainer (1874-1944) was a Romanian physician, anatomist and anthropologist, mostly remembered for introducing the concept of functional anatomy and experimental embryology in Romania (Toma 2010: 157), but also for being the founding father of the Institute of Anthropology in Bucharest (1940).
Most of his research revolved around the human body, dead or alive: from field trips where he used to accompany the sociologists of his time to study the rural population of Romania, to his interests in understanding the human (morphological) variability. As his credo went, to understand the “biologic phenomenon <HUMAN>” . Following this line of thought, and supporting the idea that “Anthropology studies the hereditary differences between people“, he turned to collecting and archiving the human body- more than 4000 crania (Ion 2011), as well as pathological and embryology specimens. From his over 40 years of work in the field of anatomy-anthropology-osteoarchaeology remained photographs, texts (his journal has been recently re-published: Rainer 2012) and an osteological collection, all this incorporating in one way or another the paradigm in which the human body was talked about.
And this is more or less my interest/job- to review these materials, to scrutinies them and do an archaeology of scientific products, just so that I can bring into view the connotations and implications of such works. As things progress, I will update the blog with news and stories waiting to be told.
Ion A. 2011. A brief overview of “Francisc J. Rainer” human osteological collection. Annuaire Roumaine d’Anthropologie 48: 24-32.
Rainer F. I. 2012. Însemnări zilnice. Conferințe. Jurnale de călătorie. Ediție de Adrian Majuru. Bucureşti: Oscar Print.
Toma V. 2010. From the dissection room to the first anthropological institute in Romania. Francisc I. Rainer and the „bridge” between anatomy and anthropology. Proceedings of the Romanian Academy Series B, 2: 157–165.