2005-2006 Humanities Institute at Dartmouth College

 

Senior Fellow

Visiting Fellows

Faculty Fellows

Speaker Series

Exhibit

Contact
Information

The 2006 Humanities Institute at Dartmouth College will explore the critical role of visual culture in the pedagogy of medicine and the life sciences over the past 200 years. In weekly meetings, scholars and students participating in this Institute will consider objects, images, various media, architecture, instruments, and machines that have shaped the training of physicians and life scientists, and marked visual experience as a way of learning beyond the written text. Participants will consider how the sense of vision was used in a rang of historical situations to deliver scientific information (knowledge) about "life" to students.

Senior Fellow

Nancy Anderson will be in residence as a Senior Fellow associated with this Institute. Over the past few years she has worked on issues related to scientific imaging, and, in particular, microscopic images. She completed a dissertation, Observing Techniques: Images from the Microscopical Life Sciences, 1850-1895, and received her Ph.D in 2002 from the University of Michigan. The dissertation included a discussion of microscopy manuals and how instructors presented lessons on the initial transformation of the live, intact organism into a specimen, or epistemic object, as well as an historical analysis of drawing as teaching tool in 19th-century courses on microscopy. In an analysis of the verbal and visual presentations of the animals' often violent demise in these classrooms she also considered whether aestheticizing the descriptions of these violent acts was a feasible or desirable strategy. As a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, she has developed a new project on 20th century fluorescence light microscopy and electronic imaging techniques. The idea for this study emerged from an exhibition she curated at the Cantor Center for the Arts at Stanford University in the summer of 2002. Entitled “Transgenic Light,”the exhibition highlighted images and videos of cells and tissue enhanced with Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), all of which were the results of collaborations between cell/molecular biologists and digital artists. The show also included a documentary montage of laboratory GFP images, and live GFP-enhanced drosophila placed under a microscope and then displayed on a large plasma screen. This inspired her current interest in the role of light in microscopy and electronics. Dr. Anderson is now preparing a history of the coupling of fluorescence light microscopy and electronic imaging systems from 1945-1995.

Visiting Fellows

Four Visiting Fellows have been appointed for the duration of the Institute (April and May 2006).

Sabine Brauckmann is a Research Fellow at the Konrad Lorentz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Vienna. She is currently conducting research on how biologists tried to disclose the morphological enigma of the primitive streak of chick embryos, from the early 1920s to the present, which tools they used to visualized their observations, and how they trained their students to 'observe' the phenomena and to 'imagine' presumptive fate maps. Her project for the Institute is titled, "Fate Maps and Specification Maps."

Scott Curtis is an Associate Professor of Radio/Television/Film Studies at Northwestern University. He is currently conducting research on the tension between medical research and mass culture as it manifests itself in medical education films.

Michael Golec is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design History at Iowa State University. He is currently conducting research on the science films of the mid-twentieth century design team Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames. His project for this Institute is titled, "Big Picture Science: The Science Films of Charles and Ray Eames."

Laura Perini is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Virginia Tech. She is currently conducting research on how pictures can serve as tools to convey links across different levels of conceptual complexity. Her project for the Institute is titled, "Abstraction, Pictures, and Pedagogy in the Life Sciences."

 

(return to top of page)

Faculty Fellows

Richard Kremer(History)

John Kulvicki (Philosophy)

Adina Roskies (Philosophy)

(return to top of page)

 

Speaker Series

The 2006 Humanities Institute will host a series of speakers on Visual Culture and Pedagogy in the Life Sciences. All talks will be held in 2 Rockefeller Hall and will begin at 4:30pm. All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, April 13
Reading/Editing Patterns on a Surface: Imagining Depth and Image Processing in Photomicrographs of Cells and Viruses, c. 1965
Nancy Anderson (Dartmouth College)

Thursday, April 27
The Heart Laid Bare: Physiological Demonstrations, ca. 1870-1920
Henning Schmidgen (Harvard University)


Thursday, May 4
Layers of Meaning: Images of Cells and Molecules
Maura Flannery (St. Johns University)


Thursday, May 11
Visible Speech
Mara Mills (Harvard University)


Thursday, May 18
Transgressive Body Politics: Artistic and Medical Anatomy Education in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia
Amy Werbel (St. Michael’s College)


Thursday, May 25
Kinetic Immersion
Robin Curtis (Frei Universitat Berlin)

(return to top of page)

 

Exhibit

LIFE FORMS: VISUAL LESSONS IN BIOLOGY

Opening at the Hood Museum, Spring 2006


Life has form, and "learning to see" that form has played a significant role in biology education. The exhibition Life Forms brings together two-dimensional pictures and three-dimensional models that have been used over the past 200 years to teach students about life-its structures, development, and the hidden function of its organs and cells. Life Forms explores the boundary between art and science with anatomical atlases, student drawings, wax and plaster sculptures, and films and diagrams of cellular processes.


The Life Forms exhbitiion will highlight visual tools and practices as they were used in the Dartmouth classroom. Other works include a19th century papier mâché male figure that opens up to reveal inner organs, a set of early 20th wax embryos showing stages of development in three dimensions, and a mid-20th century video of cells and chromosomes dividing. Members of Dartmouth's biology faculty are also highlighted: Hannah Croasdale (1905-1999) who provided hundreds of illustrations for botany textbooks and Robert Day Allen (1927-1986) who, along with wife Nina Strömgren Allen, developed (out of a classroom experience) Video-Enhanced Contrast light microscopy to capture with increasing detail the subcellular activity of living cells.

(return to top of page)


Contact Information

Director and Main Contact:
Michael Dietrich
Department of Biological Sciences
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
E-mail: Michael.Dietrich@Dartmouth.edu


Humanities Center Administrator:
The Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities
Dartmouth College
6240 Gerry Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
Phone: (603) 646-0896
Fax: (603) 646-0998
E-mail: Humanities.Center@Dartmouth.edu

(return to top of page)