Anatomy Is Done?
The introductory chapter discusses the changing status of anatomy with a focus on the intellectual landscape of Brussels and the period after 1850. What role did anatomy play in the clinic, in medical research and in university education, and how did this evolve under the influence of emergent scientific ideals and medical disciplines? Claes shows that through the adjustment and expansion of the disciplinary landscape, anatomy was redefined as a descriptive science, confined to observation and taxonomy, without a larger scientific agenda. Even though descriptive anatomy remained an essential teaching tool and a constituent of medical identity, its contribution to the progress of medical science was considered, in the words of a contemporary observer, ‘done’.