Experiencing Body Worlds: Voyeurism, education, or enlightenment?

Charleen M. Moore, C. Mackenzie Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Until the advent of plastinated cadavers, few outside the medical professions have had firsthand experience with human corpses. Such opportunities are now available at the >Body Worlds exhibits of Gunther von Hagens. After an overview of these exhibits, we explore visitor responses as revealed in comment books available upon exiting the exhibit. Cultural, philosophical, and religious issues raised in the comments serve as a microcosm of society at large. The conclusion considers the challenge of such exhibits in introducing the public to science education, notes the image of the body as machine - so prevalent in the West - reflected in visitor comments, and finds hope that the exhibits promote, for many visitors, a sense of community among all humankind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-254
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Medical Humanities
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

Keywords

  • Anatomy art
  • Body Worlds
  • Evolutionand design
  • Gunther von Hagens
  • Plastination
  • Science education
  • Science exhibitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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