• Tinne ClaesEmail author
Part of the Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History book series (MBSMH)


The introduction focuses on the connecting thread of this book: the tension between the corpse as object and subject. Most historians have described the practices of anatomists as the pinnacle of objectification. Dismembered, dissected and conserved, deceased persons were converted into dead objects. Claes shows that this interpretation, though valuable, should be reassessed and limited in time. Around 1900, anatomists started to treat the body as a subject rather than an object under the influence of, amongst other developments, changes in burial rituals and an increased importance of consent in medical ethics.


Anatomy Corpse Objectification Culture of death Medical ethics 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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