Research Fellowship Project
Project Title: Speculative Anatomies: Visualising Life and the Body in Public Medical Exhibitions
In what ways have medical institutions and ideas come to shape the ways in which we understand the human body? This project examines the cultures of display and methods of communication found in public exhibitions of the human body, past and present. It focuses particularly on those exhibitions designed to educate a general audience about health and human anatomy.
Drawing on the collection of historical anatomical models at MAAS, this project evaluates the role of visual materials in popularising medical knowledge about the human body, paying particular attention to representations of reproduction and the principles of ‘life.’ The aim, in so doing, is to better understand the educational and speculative aspects of these models, and the ways in which public and professional expertise intersect.
Anatomical models of the human body provide us with a rich archive for recovering the historical transformations in the way medicine has attempted to demonstrate how the unseen processes of the human body operate to a general audience.
Dr Elizabeth Stephens is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor of Cultural Studies in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. She is the author of three monographs: A Critical Genealogy of Normality, University of Chicago Press, 2017, co-authored with Peter Cryle; Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1700 to the Present, Liverpool University Press, 2011; and Queer Writing: Homoeroticism in Jean Genet’s Fiction, Palgrave, 2009. Her Future Fellowship examines the cultural history of the experiment, from early modern science to contemporary experimental art.
Dr Karin Sellberg is a lecturer in humanities at the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, University of Queensland. Sellberg is primarily a literary scholar with research interests in medical history, gender studies and historiography. She currently works on feminist philosophies of ‘life,’ and constructions of transgender embodiment in late twentieth-century feminist and queer theory, and has published extensively on queer and feminist conceptions of history and time.