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Malleable AnatomiesModels, Makers, and Material Culture in Eighteenth-Century Italy$
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Lucia Dacome

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736189

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198736189.001.0001

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Blindfolding the Midwives

Blindfolding the Midwives

(p.163) 5 Blindfolding the Midwives
Malleable Anatomies

Lucia Dacome

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 shifts attention from the makers of anatomical models to their users by examining the creation and employment of anatomical models in mid-eighteenth-century midwifery schools. In particular, it considers the collection of midwifery models assembled by the Bolognese surgeon and man-midwife Giovanni Antonio Galli (1708–1782) in order to establish a midwifery school in his own residence. The collection included some two hundred models realized in different materials, such as wax, clay, and glass, and was subsequently acquired by Pope Benedict XIV who donated it to the Institute of the Sciences. This chapter investigates how the midwifery models of Galli’s collection translated embodied skill and tacit knowledge into the visual and material language of anatomy. Moreover, it examines how models’ visualization of pregnancy and childbirth participated in the redefinition of midwives’ realms of competence and expertise.

Keywords:   Giovanni Antonio Galli, Prospero Lambertini, Pope Benedict XIV, midwives, midwifery models, embodied skills, tacit knowledge, licensing, childbirth, Bologna

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