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10 November 2021 - 10 November 2021

5:00PM - 6:30PM

Online via Zoom

  • Free

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This is the image alt text Johannes Lingelbach, A capriccio of a Mediterranean port, 1657

Hannah Murphy explores the relationship between practical medical encounters, the transatlantic slave trade, and emerging ideas of ‘race’ in the early modern period.

In the early modern period, practical medical encounters shaped the transatlantic slave trade, while learned medical discourse shaped scientific theories about race. But what was the relationship between the representation of practical medical encounters with slavery and the authoritative discourse of professionalizing bodies of medicine around emerging ideas of ‘race’? This paper examines the ways in which the languages of spectacle and scientific observation coincided in early modern medical literature. Medical literature – travel narratives, collections of natural history, case-histories and observations, inventories of museums and collections, and emerging accounts of epidemiology – were part and parcel of what Kim Hall has termed the ‘language of Blackness’. Hannah's paper suggests that the project of race-making arose out of and should be considered alongside patterns and dynamics integral to the development of early modern medicine writ large.

Hannah Murphy (King's College London), is Principal Investigator of the project Medicine and the Making of Race, 1440–1720 and Co-Investigator on Renaissance Skin, a Wellcome Trust-funded project led by Evelyn Welch. We hope this event might interest anyone interested in the history of medicine, race, and the body.

Picture: Johannes Lingelbach, A capriccio of a Mediterranean port, 1657.

This is the second IMEMS/IMH joint event, organised by Corinne Saunders, Tom Hamilton and Ruben Verwaal.

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