Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History

Corpses in Belgian Anatomy, 1860–1914

Nobody’s Dead

Authors: Claes, Tinne

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  • Examines the impact of changing medical practices and cultural attitudes towards death and the donation of bodies to medical facilities at the turn of the twentieth century 
  • Takes a unique methodological approach, following the trajectory of the corpse in anatomy from acquisition to disposal
  • Offers new insights into understudied European centres, drawing comparisons with other continental cases and showing how religious and cultural ideas influenced the practice of dissection
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eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-20115-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-20114-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book tells the story of the thousands of corpses that ended up in the hands of anatomists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Composed as a travel story from the point of view of the cadaver, this study offers a full-blown cultural history of death and dissection, with insights that easily go beyond the history of anatomy and the specific case of Belgium. From acquisition to disposal, the trajectories of the corpse changed under the influence of social policies, ideological tensions, religious sensitivities, cultures of death and broader changes in the field of medical ethics. Anatomists increasingly had to reconcile their ways with the diverse meanings that the dead body held. To a certain extent, as this book argues, they started to treat the corpse as subject rather than object. Interweaving broad historical evolutions with detailed case studies, this book offers unique insights into a field dominated by Anglo-American perspectives, evaluating the similarities and differences within other European contexts.

About the authors

Tinne Claes is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Cultural History since 1750 Research Group at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and Fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), Belgium.

Reviews

“In this fine book Tinne Claes takes the history of anatomy out of the nineteenth century and into our own times. She shows that, to understand the hitherto little studied transition from body snatching and the shame of dissection to voluntary donation in the service of science, we must follow both anatomists and prospective cadavers as they move through the physically and socio-politically transforming city: from hospital beds and dissection halls to political arenas and burial grounds.” (Tatjana Buklijas, University of Auckland, New Zealand )
“The coercive laws and secret arrangements through which nineteenth-century anatomists obtained the corpses of the poor are better known than how anatomical donation became the norm in the twentieth century. This ground-breaking book argues that democratic politics and egalitarian attitudes – from the rise of consent in clinics to less punitive approaches to poverty – forced change on anatomy around 1900. By reconstructing anatomists’ post-mortem practices and the stories of those they dissected, Tinne Claes offers a compelling account of how nobodies began to become somebodies.” (Nick Hopwood, author of Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud (2015))

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-20115-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-20114-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Corpses in Belgian Anatomy, 1860–1914
Book Subtitle
Nobody’s Dead
Authors
Series Title
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-20115-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-20115-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-20114-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 323
Number of Illustrations
21 b/w illustrations
Topics