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Title: Visualising venereal disease in London c.1780-1860
Author: Palfreyman, Harriet
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 9138
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the various roles that visual representations played in the theoretical understanding of, and practical approaches to, venereal disease in London’s medical marketplace from around 1780 to 1860. Venereal disease was understood in a variety of ways, and conceptualised within a number of different medical disciplines, such as pathology and dermatology. The analytic lens of visual representation allows the historian to explore the complexities of these understandings. This thesis therefore contributes to the literature on the historicising of disease. The period under discussion was one of enormous change in medical theory, practice and disciplinary organisation. Disease was being conceptualised as something physical within the body, meaning images of the disease took on new meanings. Furthermore, these representations played an important role in medical education of the period, as well as in the legitimisation of new disciplines. Within these new theoretical paradigms and institutional spaces, various new meanings were created for the visual representations, and their creators and users had to employ various strategies to limit their meaning and control their interpretations. This thesis utilises a variety of visual and material representations – atlas illustrations, wax moulages, paintings, casts, models and pathological preparations – to see how meaning was negotiated for these visual representations. Venereal disease is a particularly complex case, as it was considered difficult to depict, therefore debates and disagreements over how it was to be visualised reveal much about how the disease was conceptualised. Through five chapters, the thesis explores how these representations functioned within different spaces in London’s medical marketplace, such as public museums, private schools, hospitals and university medical departments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; RA Public aspects of medicine