2012-13 The Art of Medicine

Ann Fox, Associate Professor of English, Davidson College

The Modern Body, Medical Drag, and...Mattress Pads?: How Disability and Art Create and Aesthetics of Access

Monday, October 1, 2012
5:30-6:30 pm
T. Edward Temple Building, 901 West Main Street, Room 1165

We are used to pairing art and disability in very specific ways in our culture: art as therapy; art as depiction of the tragic, grotesque, or fearful; or disability as something an artist may have overcome to be successful. But what if we activiely re-imagined, valued, and embraced a disability presence in art?


Hanne Blank, Writer and Historian

Hymen Wars: The Two-Thousand-Year Battle over Women's Bodies and the Diagnosis of Virginity

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
12:30-1:30 pm
VCU Student commons, 907 Floyd Avenue, Forum Room, First Floor

Has she or hasn't she? Only her hymen knows for usre. Or does it? The presence, absence, and condition of this storied membrane have been considered so definitive a diagnostic of female virginity that reports of its condition have longt been admitted evidence in courts of law. So sturdy is the humen's reputation as a diagnostic that many, including contemporary medical and legal professionals, assume the reputation is both iron-clad and age-old. Nothing could be further from the truth: the physical existence of the humen wasn't so much as confirmed in dissection until 1546, a late-breaking and still ambiguous entry in the annals of what has become a two-thousand-year debate. A curious sago of projection, paranoia, paternalism, and medical mystery, the history of the hymen and its purported meanings astonishes and alarms to this day.


Nathan Comfort, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Univ.

From Medical Eugenics to Genomic Medicine: 100 years of relieving suffering and the self-direction of human evolution

Thursday, January 24th
4:00-5:30 pm
VCU Student Commons, 907 Floyd Avenue, Richmond Salons, Second Floor

Contemporary genetic medicine is both revolutionary and deeply traditional. Our mastery of the molecules of life is unprecendented -- yet modern medical genomics shares some of the same basic goals with the eugenicists and geneticists of the early 20th century. The historian of medicine, Nathaniel Comfort examines how genetics became medical -- and how medicine became genetic.


Margaret Humphreys, Editor, Duke University

Intensely Human: The Health of Black Soldiers in the American Civil War

Wednesday, March 27th
5:30-7:00 pm
Grace Street Theater, 932 West Grace Street

A specialist in the history of science and medicine, Dr. Humphreys' research focuses primarily on infectious disease in the U.S. and the American south, while her current research explores the history of medicine during the American Civil War. Until the last half of the twentieth century diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, pellagra, and hookworm marked the south as tropical, impoverished, and strikingly different from the rest of the United States.