Abstract

Prior to the American Civil War, museums were enthusiastically promoted in the annual circulars of southern medical colleges as valuable aids to medical education. Using case history narratives, medical college circulars, and announcements, this article examines the social origins of the region's collections of anatomical and pathological specimens and explores the professional agents and organizations responsible for their maintenance and development. The article is also concerned with exploring the racial framework in which these bodies and specimens were sourced and displayed. The social relations embodied in natural history and medical museum collections, and the emerging specialism of "negro medicine," were all elements of a context that subordinated and objectified blackness, as well as permitting and legitimizing the exploitation of black bodies. Medical museums function as a key case study for examining power relations among physicians, slaves, and slave owners, as well as underscoring southern medicine's dependence on slavery for its development.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 32-62
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-20
Open Access
No
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