One of the problems of growing older is that all exciting mind-expanding conferences these days seem to be arranged exclusively for phd’s and postdocs! Like this summer school meeting on the history of medical imaging from the Renaissance to present times, organised by the Centre for the History of Medicine at Warwick University 7-11 July 2008:

Participants will trace technological developments and their consequences in medicine, alongside consideration of how these new ways of ‘seeing’ the human body reflected and were shaped by the concerns of scientists, physicians, artists, and the general population. The aim of the Summer School is to bring together current and recently completed postgraduates from the humanities and sciences with experts from a number of different fields to engage with a range of technologies for making scientific images of the human body, including the fine arts, drawing and painting, as well as film, photography, X-ray and the current medical imaging techniques of digital biomedicine. Moreover, it addresses itself to students who are investigating questions about the meaning of images of the human body and how agreement about such meaning is negotiated (in the laboratory, in modern mass-media, public displays in museums, in university anatomy teaching). What are the epistemological, moral and philosophical consequences of our desire to picture all functions of the human body? What does it mean to be human in a world of global mass media in which the individual body is central, yet increasingly public and commercialised? Are there alternatives to the understanding in Western science since the nineteenth century that vision is the primary avenue to knowledge and sight takes precedence over the other senses as a tool in the analysis of living things?

The summer school looks wonderfully informal: participants will meet every morning with experts (including the distinguished cultural historian Sander Gilman, below) to discuss the topic of the day (for topics, see the detailed program here), and the afternoons will then be reserved for activities related to the theoretical issues discussed of the morning, such as digital anatomy, scanning, and photography sessions. For further info, see here.

(thanks to Warwick Centre for the History of Medicine project manager Molly Rogers)

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