‘Imagine this: a miniature orchestra of mice skeletons playing a ‘rhapsody in
death’. Tiny claws hold minute instruments in front of minuscule music stands
while a petite conductor waves an exquisite little baton (see Plate 1). This
composition was created in 1860 by the Dutch doctor E.J. van der Mijle.’
This is the introdoction of a new title on History of Medicine in Context: The Fate of Anatomical Collections. Ed. by Rina Knoeff, University of Groningen, The Netherlands and Robert Zwijnenberg, Leiden University, The Netherlands. Ashgate. Published: March 2015.
In its 17th chapters, specialists coming from different research traditions and museums narrate the fate of various anatomical collections, from interesting case studies, like the ‘Bottled’ and ‘Beaded’ babies, to the history of London/Vienna/Leiden collections.
In the same line, the title Elegant Anatomy The Eighteenth-Century Leiden Anatomical Collections. Marieke M. A. Hendriksen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Published: October 2014, looks at issues related to the keeping and displaying of historical human remains through the lense of the concept of aesthesis, ‘as these historical medical collections may seem strange, and undeniably have a morbid aesthetic, yet are neither curiosities nor art’.
Another new title exploring the histories of scientific encounters with bodies is Constructing Race. The Science of Bodies and Cultures in American Anthropology.Tracy Teslow. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Published: July 2014.
‘Constructing Race helps unravel the complicated and intertwined history of raceand science in America. Tracy Teslow explores how physical anthropologists in the twentieth century struggled to understand the complexity of human physical and cultural variation, and how their theories were disseminated to the public through art, museum exhibitions, books, and pamphlets’
Lastly, the one and only Paul Koudounaris has just published a new book: Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us. Thames & Hudson. Published: April 14, 2015. This announces to be a captivating journey through memorials and traditions from around the globe.
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