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Social Anthropology: Events


Skulls and the Relationship between Edinburgh and India

Skulls and the Relationship between Edinburgh and India
Speaker: Professor Ian Harper # EdCMA, UoE
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Date and Time
14th Feb 2019 16:00 - 14th Feb 2019 17:30
6th floor staff room, Chrystal Macmillan Building

Anatomy, at the University of Edinburgh, is home to an extensive collection of artefacts that speaks to its rich history and the work of its pioneering anatomists. Within its collections there are just under 1400 skulls, gathered from many parts of the world mainly between the 18th and early 20th Centuries, for the purpose of contributing to the then ongoing scientific debates in phrenology and comparative anatomy. Amongst these are a number sent to Edinburgh from the Indian subcontinent. In this paper, developed with Roger Jeffery, we track the links between India and the University of Edinburgh through the prism of these skulls. We develop a picture of who sent these skulls, and sketch their biographies. These acquisitions were supported by the personal and professional relationships between mainly Edinburgh-trained colonial medical officers and the University's anatomists. We will thus tell a story of colonial science through the trail of bones. 

This event is part of the Centre for South Asian Studies Seminar Series.

Freshers 2013