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Accepted Paper:

Tales of terror: disputes over dead bodies  
Giulia Levai (UNICAMP)

Paper short abstract:

This paper intends to address a Brazilian short story (1917) and a true story that happened in London (1780s). As main characters two young men on the verge of death, aware that their bodies, regarded as scientific curiosities, shall undergo posthumous dissection to integrate anatomical collections

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to address a Brazilian short story published in 1917 and a true story that occurred in London in the 1780s. Their main characters are two unfortunate young men who just realized they are about to die. One of them is nurse Paulino, recently admitted in the Hospital he used to work in, but now as a patient, after developing a strange and aggressive disease. The other is Charles Byrne, known as "Charles O'Brien, the Irish Giant”, a former celebrity, suffering from tuberculosis and alcoholism. Both are dreadfully aware that their bodies are regarded as scientific curiosities by local anatomists. In both cases, the posthumous destiny of scientific curiosities was to undergo dissection procedures and end up in anatomical collections.Placed as the living subject of a masterclass in Pathological Anatomy, nurse Paulino is haunted by his awareness of a medical code scribbled in his file, which stood for “Keep Corpse For Autopsy”, while Byrne lives his last months chased by the famous anatomist John Hunter, avid to integrate the giant’s skeleton to his personal Museum, among specimens of "exotic beasts". Wroth and terrified, they try to scape, doing everything they can to remain masters of their bodies, to rest in peace. Sadly, their agency is no match for the power of Men of Science’s wills, and they fail to overcome it. Filled with terror and pitié, both stories enlighten debates on the scientific “ownership” over corpses of the poor, the “monstrous” and the ungrieved ones.

Panel Evid04c
Many are the pities of history: animals, plants and other forms of life in the historiography of the Global South
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -