Abstract

This article focuses on visual choices that American physicians made in representing their profession, their work, and themselves during the decades when modern medical culture was set in place, the 1880s through the 1940s. Historians have emphasized the role that image played in the formation of modern medicine, but the visual images they have explored in connection to this process have tended to take a reductionist aesthetic identified with experimental laboratory science as emblematic of medical modernity. Explored here instead are several counterexamples—genres of self-representation in which medical students and physicians did not seek to link their identity with the laboratory and in some ways distanced themselves from the image and ideals of experimental science. The cultivation of these images invites us to see the cultural grounding of modern medicine as vastly more complex than a story scripted around the biomedical embrace of a stripped down, reductionist aesthetic.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 1-47
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-21
Open Access
No
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