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Wernimont Core1 lecture

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Lecture for Scripps College Core 1 course, focusing on the visual rhetoric of early modern anatomical models of women

Lecture for Scripps College Core 1 course, focusing on the visual rhetoric of early modern anatomical models of women

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  • These are the only times that we see women in the anatomy books – as maternal bodies, opened up and on sheets of silk. Men, on the other hand are everywhere in the anatomy books and even when anatomized they are in positions of strength, standing in buildings or perched atop nature. Schema here then is of a reclining, passive, sexualized and reproductive woman and of a strong, commanding, active man
  • Schema: woman anatomized only for the reproductive organs, nude despite only anatomizing abdomen, often in a reclining and suggestive position PLATES FROM SPIEGEL’S DE FORMATO FOETU LIBER SINGULARIS (1626) Giulio Cesare Casseri, also known as Casserio
  • Charles Nicolas Jenty 1757 Reclining, bedsheets Intact fetus
  • George Spratt's Obstetric Tables: Comprising Graphic Illustrations, with Descriptions and Practical remarks; Exhibiting on Dissected Plates Many Important Subjects in Midwifery (1850) Chestnut’s 4 th edition published in 2009
  • Woman as vessel: early modern handbook, DaVinci uterus (pre-1700) to the more graphic realism of woman as trunk/hunk of meat of this 18 th c textbook to William Hunter’s contemporaneous Gravid Uterus
  • Both the model (in a view box) on the right and the image on the left are designed to offer a greater level of scientific realism Glossy, gleaming detail; high level of contrast in the Jenty The pubic hair and pentrating penis in the Talrich Anatomical model of a pregnant woman by Jules Talrich, late 19th century, Paris
  • Spaceman “This photo of an 11-week, 2 inch fetus is captioned: ‘Like an astronaut in his capsule the fetus floats in its amniotic sac with the villi of the placenta around it like a radiant wreath. The nebulae and constellations in this firmament are formed by cells from the maternal blood and salt crystals in the fetal waters” Or “Back to Sea”: “The origins of life are to be found in the sea – this newly created fetus swims in an inland sea with just the right temperature and salinity.
  • Double edged sword of “sexy” or compelling images

Transcript

  • 1. “Gender is a primary way of signifying relationships of power” (Joan Wallach Scott) Anatomical knowledge via dissection is “a way to think about the self” (Katherine Park)
  • 2. • Schema: learned mental patterns which are projected on nature • Social constructivism: truth is constructed by social processes, is historically and culturally specific, and is in part shaped through the power struggles within a community • Positivism: truth exclusively derives from information derived from sensory experience and the logical and mathematical treatments of such data • Scientific Realism: scientific truth represents the real world as it really is (often modified to think through progressive accounts of science
  • 3. A Visual Vocabulary of Difference
  • 4. Cosme Viardel, 1673 Giulio Cesare Casseri, 1626 Andreas Vesalius, 1543
  • 5. Charles Nicolas Jenty, 1757 Anatomical “Venus” (18th c)
  • 6. • Insert modern image here Chestnut’s 4th edition 2009 Both drawings 19th c
  • 7. The “Spaceman”
  • 8. Violent Occlusion of Women’s Bodies and Their Roles
  • 9. Superfluity of Detail Jules Talrich, late 19th century,
  • 10. Fetishization of woman’s gendered and dissected body
  • 11. Gendered pleasure of knowledge/power
  • 12. Connecting Photographic/Graphic ‘Like an astronaut in his capsule the fetus floats in its amniotic sac with the villi of the placenta around it like a radiant wreath. The nebulae and constellations in this firmament are formed by cells from the maternal blood and salt crystals in the fetal waters”
  • 13. “social work of consensus building”