"A History of Death" is the inaugural lecture of this year's Death and Dying Series, part of the Mahindra Humanities Seminar. Death and the dead body have always played the role of political battleground.Yet death’s fraught relationship with the political has not remained constant through time—pre-modern responses to death differ drastically from those of the present day.
Hannah will be presenting a paper based on the first chapter in her dissertation "Banned Books: Medicine, Readers, and Censors in Early Modern Italy". She will explore the reactions of members of the medical republic of letters to the Pauline Index of 1559, the first papally issued Index of Prohibited Books, which prohibited works by German Protestants and explicitly banned many of the most important members of the medical community.
In this first of an inter-working group initiative to familiarize participants with the digital humanities, Allyssa Metzger (G3, History of Science) will coordinate a conversation about what "digital humanities" means in practical terms to grad students. We ask that participants familiarize themselves with the readings attached/linked below, as well as look at DiRT in order to generate conversation about what tools we might collectively workshop in future sessions.
Throughout its first two decades in print, the leading journal in the History of Science, Isis, published numerous portraits of scientists, facsimiles of medallions depicting scientists, and advertisements concerning the construction of commemorative statues in honor of scientists, some recently deceased, others long passed.
This talk is about the history of European notions of what it meant to be human between the late Middle Ages and the Scientific Revolution. I argue that the category of human was shaped by the category of the monster, and show how practices of classifying and describing monsters in different textual traditions changed notions of the boundaries between human, monster and animal. Three case-studies I examine in this talk are the werewolf, the headless people of Guiana described by Sir Walter Raleigh, and the Patagonian giant.
The tradition of alchemy in China is long. Unlike Western alchemy that focused on transmuting metals into gold, Chinese alchemy primarily aimed to make elixirs to achieve immortality. The materials used in Chinese tradition were mainly minerals – many of them toxic by modern standard. These include cinnabar, mercury, lead, sulfur, and arsenic. These elixirs, once ingested, often caused traumatic bodily experiences, and death. If the appeal of the elixir was high, so was its price. Chinese alchemists, strangely, continued the practice for almost a millennium.