The UCS Academy is a high quality events programme featuring world-renowned speakers, showcasing academic excellence both inside and outside UCS. The events include conversations with, lectures and guest lectures by experts across a wide range of disciplines.
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Body Parts: The History of Dissection and the History of History - Professor Helen King. Professor King will discuss how historians have approached the different ways in which anatomy has been taught over the past two thousand years, and how history can speak to our present debates about the balance between respect for the body and the quest for a better understanding of it. The need for human dissection in medical science has been disputed since the early Roman Empire; today the newest medical schools teach anatomy through internet resources and other non-invasive methods. In the Renaissance, public anatomies were a combination of punishment, exploration and theology: at the end of the 19th century, performing dissection was a rite of passage for those wanting to enter the medical profession, and it was feared that taking part in this rite would damage the sensibilities of the first women doctors.
Profile: Helen King is Professor of Classical Studies at the Open University and a Visiting Professor at the Peninsula Medical and Dental School, Truro. Following a first degree in Ancient History and Social Anthropology at UCL, she has specialised in ancient medicine and its reception up to the 19th century, focusing in particular on gynaecology and obstetrics in the Renaissance, and has published books on this subject. A former Fellow of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, she has also held visiting positions at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the University of Texas. She has served on funding committees for the Wellcome Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, chairing the Research Resources panel at the Trust for several years. She is committed to public engagement and her recent media appearances include ‘In Our Time’, ‘BBC2 History Cold Case’, ‘Tony Robinson’s Gods and Monsters’ and ‘Restoration Women’.
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