Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS: Death, Art and Anatomy Conference: University of Winchester, June 3-6, 2016

Call for papers just in from our friends at the University of Winchester! Abstracts due by Friday 11th December 2015! You can find out more here.
Death, Art and Anatomy Conference
University of Winchester, June 3-6, 2016

An interdisciplinary conference exploring the intersections between death, art and anatomy, by bringing together art historians, medical historians, and practising artists.

An interdisciplinary conference exploring the intersections between death, art and anatomy, by bringing together art historians, medical historians, and practising artists
The intersection between death, art and anatomy is a largely marginalised area of study, but one this conference hopes to explore.

A major strand of the conference will be addressing a core problem in medical history, that is the growing awareness of human anatomy in Britain between the medieval and early modern periods (c.1350-1560). This will be explored through the study and analysis of extant late-medieval carved cadaver sculptures which largely pre-date Vesalian knowledge of anatomy and suggest sculptors may have had an opportunity to study and recreate, emaciated (and eviscerated) human corpses.  This raises the question of what religious and ethical considerations surrounded the creation of such pieces, and how their creators may have gained access to the emaciated dead and/or dying. As such, central to the conference will be the presentation of a newly-commissioned carved cadaver sculpture inspired by historical counterparts, with reflections by the artist, world-leading anatomical sculptor, Eleanor Crook. 

Allied subjects such as medieval hospitals, visual culture and death, the inspiration of the dead in medical art, physicality and poetry, and death and medieval theology will also be explored by invited speaker.

Papers are invited that broadly address the theme of death, art and anatomy in the following areas:
  • Death and art
  • Anatomy and death
  • Anatomy and art
  • History of anatomy
  • History of death
  • Religion and anatomy
  • Religion and death
  • Medieval and early modern death beliefs and practices
Presentations should be in English, and will be allocated 20 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for discussion. Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of 200-250 words in Word. Proposals must include name, institutional affiliation (if relevant), a short bio (no more than 100 words) and an e-mail address. Proposals for panel discussions (organised by the participants) will be considered.

Deadline for receipt of abstracts is Friday 11th December 2015

For enquires please contact

It is proposed that a selection of papers will be published

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ghosts And Gadgets : Communicating with the Spirits : A New Film by Ronni Thomas for Morbid Anatomy Museum Presents!

Below, Filmmaker in Residence Ronni Thomas--director of The Midnight Archive--introduces "Ghosts And Gadgets : Communicating with the Spirits," the newest episode of his Morbid Anatomy Museum Presents film series. In this film, we are introduced to Brandon Hodge and his collection of planchettes, instruments intended for use in communicating with spirits and ancestor to today's Ouija board. Stay tuned for news of a Kickstarter campaign by Thomas intended to fund the production of more films for the museum!

You can view the film above or by clicking here; Stay tuned for more episodes which will premiere monthly on our new You Tube channel, which can be found here
My latest film bridges a gap between my interests in both novelty items and genuine spiritual communication. Collector Brandon Hodge has, in his Austin home, one of the largest, most impressive collection of spirit communication devices, most notably, his collection of planchettes. Many of us know the ‘planchette’ from our toy Ouija board set; the little heart shaped plastic table that spells out our next true love’s name. However, before the popularization of the Ouija board and it mass-manufacturing, Spiritualists would use this device (and many others) to try to communicate with the spirits of our ancestors… Think of these ‘devices’ in terms of technology meets spirituality. Remember, there was a time when faith and science were parallel lines and not pitted against one another.  And, in some cases, as with the devices in Hodge’s collection, the two were employed to work hand in hand. As someone who appreciates both the anomalous and the scientific, I view these devices as early, perhaps naive attempts to demonstrate some solid proof of life after death.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Call for Papers: The Way of the Flesh, City University of New York, The Graduate Center, April 7-8

This spring, The Morbid Anatomy Museum will be partnering with The Graduate Center at the City University of New York in a 2-day conference exploring ideas of "the flesh."

Proposals (of 250 words or less) are now being solicited for papers; they can be sent to thewayofallfleshconference [at] gmail [dot] com by October 15, 2015. Full call for papers follows; for more information, click here.
The Way of All Flesh English Student Association Conference
City University of New York, the Graduate Center
April 7-8
"Where are we to put the limit between the body and the world, since the world is flesh?" (Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, 138)
What possibilities arise when we discuss flesh in the absence of a body? If the term body denotes a set of codes that determines and delimits flesh, then flesh might, in this framework, be conceptualized as that which the body can never fully contain. In Merleau-Ponty’s configuration, the flesh of the world is the mutually constitutive thickness between perceiving subject and perceived object. On a more intimate scale, how might discrete bodies — human and animal, animate and inanimate — enmesh? If the ideal body contains and encloses, how does flesh dissolve bodies through shared sensations, sufferings, pleasures? What kinds of knowledge do experiences of the flesh produce?

Uncovering alternative histories of flesh might compel more nuanced theorizations. Though flesh typically refers to the interior meat of human and animal bodies, we invite papers that reconsider this term, in ways that include but are not limited to the following:
  • Ecologies of flesh, relations between flesh, bodies, and environments 
  • Affective encounters through and between flesh, the emotional/affective expressivity of flesh 
  • Flesh, sexuality, and identity
    Racializing logics of embodied difference/sameness, histories of taxonomizing, and commodifications of flesh Dissection and anatomy, revivification of flesh, pathologization of flesh, illness, pregnancy, tumors, and cell growth 
  • Sensing flesh, synesthesia, touching/feeling flesh, the pleasure of flesh
    Historical and theoretical distinctions among flesh, meat, and edible bodies 
  • Flesh in devotional practices from prayer to mortification, the memento mori, transubstantiation and the Eucharist 
  • Transitioning and transforming flesh, shaping flesh, shrinking and expanding flesh
    Possession of flesh, the flesh trade, appropriating flesh 
  • Violations of the flesh, flesh objects, torture, marking/exalting the flesh 
  • Flesh — from animal skin to plant matter — in book production
  • Discarded, forgotten, and wasted flesh, flesh after life and the afterlife of flesh 
  • Nonconforming and extraordinary flesh, normative and ableist discourses of flesh 
  • Technologies of the flesh, prostheses as flesh 
  • The flesh of the text, writing (on) the flesh, the erotics of the text, textual surfaces
Please send proposals of 250 words or less to by October 15, 2015.
Image: The Apostle St Bartholomew, 1480 by Italian painter Matteo di Giovanni c.1430-1495. Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest Hungary.