seminar: Dr Claudia Stein (Warwick) Visions of Economic Man: biomedicine and political economy in Germany around 1900
Please note change of time and venue.
Refreshments served. All are welcome!
In January 1901 the Munich police department entered into a lengthy and furious dispute with a local chemical lab over the prohibition of its expensive advertisement posters depicting gigantic microscopic images of the causative agents of tuberculosis and gonorrhea. The ‘poster struggle’ offers new and unusual insights into the representation and popularisation of the modern biomedical body -- a well-researched topic by medical historians since the 1990s and its ‘visual turn’. The dispute also reminds us that Germany’s ‘laboratory revolution’ overlapped with the country’s late industrialisation and the rise of a consumer culture in the last third of the 19th century. The hygienic ‘body beautiful’ quickly became a commercialised object. The paper will speak to these issues but aims to go beyond the history of hygiene, public health, the modern biomedical body and its commercialisation. But more than this. I argue that this dispute, ostensibly over a poster, tells us something important about the emerging experimental sciences, advertisements, and economic theory around 1900, and with it, some assumptions about human nature we still hold today.