Call for Papers: History and Cultural Representations of Human Remains

National Museum of Ethiopia

Medical Museums and Anatomic Collections at the Natural History Museum,
Toulouse, on 4 February, 2013

Anatomic Models at the Academy of Medicine, Paris, on 4 April, 2013

Exhibiting Human Remains at the Hunterian Museum, London, on 4 June, 2013

Although modern anatomy owes a lot to comparative anatomy, the fairly
recent separation between natural history museums and medical museums in
the mid-nineteenth century has tended to obscure this connection. This
conference intends to focus on the constitution, rise and evolution of
medical museums and the ways in which the constitution of anatomical
collections has been represented in literature and the arts. It will look
at matters ranging from the use of menageries for anatomical research to
the proximity between human and animal remains in medical museums, as well
as issues of classification and organisation. The importance of zoological
specimens in medical museums and the role played by animal remains in the
constitution of private medical collections and pathological museums will
be central to this conference, which aims to trace the impact of
comparative anatomy on human anatomy and examine the debates raised by
anatomists’ methods of investigation, such as those concerning vivisection
or the human and humanity, as in the case of criminals or ‘savages’. By
analysing the history of this aspect of medical museums together with its
reception and popularisation, this conference will focus on the evolution
of the representation of humans and animals as objects of medical
investigation and look at literature and the arts as significant media
playing an active part in the history of medicine.

We invite 20-minute papers that engage with, but are not limited to, the
following topics:

- medical museums and/as cabinets of curiosities
- medical museums and comparative anatomy
- animals and/in medical research
- collecting, preserving, classifying human and animal remains
- the location and architecture of medical museums
- medical museums, humans and humanity
- anatomical collections and the rise of criminal anthropology
- anatomical collections and the rise of ethnology
- representations of mad collectors/anatomists/surgeons

Please send 300-word proposals (attached as a .doc-file; in French or
English), together with a short biographical note to Laurence
Talairach-Vielmas ( & Rafael Mandressi

Please write ‘EXPLORA/Medical Museums and Anatomical Collections/Abstract’
as email object. Deadline for submissions: September 1, 2012. Contributors
will be notified that their proposal has been accepted by mid-October