From the Earliest Skeletal Evidence of Autopsy in the New World to disturbing bodies: new titles

In the last couple of months I’ve come across several recently released body-related titles which sound like they deserve some attention:

The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States. Editor: Kenneth C. Nystrom. Springer 2016.

From the earliest skeletal evidence of anatomy in the US, to postmortem manipulations of the human body, this title aims at ‘demonstrating how bioarchaeological evidence can be used to address a wide range of themes including social identity and marginalization, racialization, the nature of the body and fragmentation, and the emergence of medical practice and authority in the United States.’

Disturbing Bodies. Perspectives on Forensic Anthropology. Edited by Zoë Crossland and Rosemary A. Joyce. SAR Press 2015.

A title I’ve mentioned before, and which I reviewed for EJA (soon to be published), this is a great cross-disciplinary collection of texts which aims at opening forensic practice towards anthropologically derived questions and methods.

Anatomy Museum. Death and the Body Displayed. by Elizabeth Hallam. Reaktion books 2016.


As the description of the book goes: ‘Anatomy museums contain some of the most compelling and challenging displays of the human body. This innovative book focusing on one such museum – in Scotland’s northeast – opens up a wide-ranging history of deceased bodies on display, from medieval relics, to nineteenth-century mega-collections of human remains, to the controversial Body Worlds exhibition that is touring the globe.’

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains. by Thomas W. Laqueur.  Princeton University Press 2015.


Taking a cultural historical perspective, Laqueur explores ‘why the living have cared for the dead, from antiquity to the twentieth century. The book draws on a vast range of sources–from mortuary archaeology, medical tracts, letters, songs, poems, and novels to painting and landscapes in order to recover the work that the dead do for the living: making human communities that connect the past and the future’

If you know of any other titles, I would be happy to hear about them.

Source of featured image: The University of Chcago Press


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