The Skeleton Trade

Although the human skeleton was well known as a symbol of mortality before 1500, the articulated skeleton does not seem to have come into its own as an object –scientific and artistic as well as symbolic – until the time of Vesalius.  Curiously ubiquitous, since everyone has one, but yet largely invisible, anatomists revealed the …

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A Dwarf and his Skeleton

Last month I spent some time in Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library, looking at the catalogues of the anatomical preparations of London anatomist and man-midwife William Hunter (1718-1783).  Hunter, a Scot, left his collections to the University of Glasgow, where they still reside.   Among the anatomical preparations listed in 1784 was “A …

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Anita’s famous tomato chutney

By popular demand, here is the recipe for my famous tomato chutney.  It is somewhat modified from Madhur Jaffrey, An Invitation to Indian Cooking: Sweet and spicy tomato chutney 1 head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (yes, a whole head) a piece of fresh ginger, 2 in long, 1 in thick, 1 in wide, …

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The Cats of Praia Vermelha

For the past week, I've been at the International Congress for the History of Science and Technology, held at the Praia Vermelha ("red beach") campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  There are a lot of cats on the campus.  I don't know their background; they seem to be strays, but are well …

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Discovering Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 2017 I am sitting in the sun on the roof of my hotel in Rio, looking at the heavily forested hills to the east, the high rise hotels lining the Copacabana to the south, the elaborate rooftop garden across the Avenida de Princesa Isabel, and beyond, the rickety tin shacks …

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Vesalius in Wonderland

Last month, artist Lisa Temple-Cox had a residency at Oregon State for two weeks as part of the Horning Series on "The Material Body" that I organized this academic year. Among the numerous talks and demonstrations she gave was this collaborative talk with art historian Glenn Harcourt on a joint project they are calling "Vesalius …

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