Further into Imperfecta


Teratology is the study of congenital abnormalities, including both the early modern concept of "monstrosity" or "monsters" and more recent investigations into the causes of abnormal human development.

The first major path, Living Curiosities: Agency and Exploitation of the Teratological Body, explores a theme discussed in Imperfecta: the monetization of non-normative* bodies. The topic, chosen by visitors to the Mütter Museum through voting that occurred between March 9th and April 30th, 2017, is most iconically represented through the "freak shows" of the 19th century.

The second major path, Seeing is Believing: Visualizing the Teratological Body, explores the ways in which non-normative bodies have been represented and the technologies that influenced those representations.

The third main path, What Does It Mean to be Other?, addresses ideas of "otherness" to help frame our understanding of this topic.

The fourth path, added in June 2018, features fully captioned videos of all six papers presented at our symposium, Of Marvels and Medicine: Perceptions of Abnormal Human Development, held at the College of Physicians in March 2018.

The fifth and most recent path was added in October 2018. Titled What’s Mom Got to Do With It? Maternal Impression in Western Medicine, this path explores maternal impression in western medicine, the long-held theory that an emotional or physical stimulus experienced by a pregnant woman could influence the development of her fetus.

Check in for updates or follow us on Twitter @CPPHistMedLib for announcements of new content.

*The contemporary term for those with congenital abnormalities.

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  1. Pourtraict d'un monstre merueilleux