Literature and Science, Oxford

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Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century, St Anne’s College, Oxford, 10th-11th September 2016

Registration for our upcoming conference, Medicine and Modernity in the Long Nineteenth Century to be held on 10th and 11th September at St Anne’s College, Oxford, is now open, and links to the full programme and registration page can be found here:

https://diseasesofmodernlife.org/conference-2016/

In this two day interdisciplinary conference, hosted by the ERC project Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth Century Perspectives, we will explore the phenomena of stress and overload, and other disorders associated with the problems of modernity in the long nineteenth century, as expressed in the literature, science, and medicine of the period. By tracing the connections drawn between physiological, psychological and social health, or disease in the era, we aim to offer new ways of contextualising the problems of modernity facing us in the twenty-first century. We are particularly interested in comparative perspectives on these issues from international viewpoints.

Keynote Speakers: Professor Laura Otis (Emory College of Arts and Sciences) and Professor Christopher Hamlin (University of Notre Dame)

The standard registration fee is £35 and the student/concession registration fee is £20. This includes refreshments and lunch on both days, plus a drinks reception and conference dinner on the Saturday evening. A limited number of single, ensuite rooms are available in the Ruth Deech Building at St Anne’s College for the nights of Friday  9th and Saturday 10th September. If you would like to stay at St Anne’s College, please register and select this option as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at medicineandmodernity@ell.ox.ac.uk.

Amelia Bonea, Melissa Dickson, Jennifer Wallis, Sally Shuttleworth

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Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century: Seminars in Hilary Term 2016

The  programme for Hilary Term 2016 is now announced with two seminars taking place at St Anne’s College.

Drinks will be served after each seminar and all are welcome.

Wednesday 3 February 2016 (Week 3)

Dr Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives, Royal College of Surgeons of England 

Sam's image

Casting no doubt: Plaster Heads in Victorian/Edwardian Science and Medicine

Science and medicine rely on extra-textual objects. From within the array of instruments, models, specimens and other material culture this paper will focus on a specific medium (plaster of Paris casts) and a specific anatomy (the human head). Examples from medicine, anthropology and anatomy will illustrate the particularities of the process of casting, the relationships between interior and exterior, between life and death. Museum stores to this day hold thousands of these widely reproduced and circulated casts, their quantity bewildering, their status ambiguous. Unpacking their significance as clinical and scientific records in the decades around 1900 is revealing.

5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

Wednesday 17 February 2016 (Week 5)

Graeme Gooday, Professor of History of Science and Technology, University of Leeds

V0008879 Structure of the outer and inner ear. Coloured stipple Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Structure of the outer and inner ear. Coloured stipple after: James. StewartPublished: 1800 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Medical and technological limits: exploiting, evaluating and alleviating adult hearing loss in Britain up to the Great War.

While early 19th century otologists claimed they could ‘cure’ most categories of deafness, by the early twentieth century such boasts were more characteristic of opportunist mail order advertisers. Victorian middle class people who experienced significant auditory loss in adulthood could thus not expect much assistance from physicians in attempting to sustain life among the hearing. Some followed Harriet Martineau’s example and declared their ‘deafness’ publicly by sporting a hearing trumpet to aid conversation. The more self-conscious opted for hearing assistance discreetly disguised in, for example, a ladies’ bonnet or a gentleman’s top hat. Those untroubled by myopia could instead learn lip-reading, or occasionally hand signing. These purported ‘solutions’ to hearing loss were much debated alongside many other aspects of deafness in the Deaf Chronicle founded in 1889, and in its successor periodicals.

5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

For any queries, please get in touch with Alyson Slade, alyson.slade@ell.ox.ac.uk.