We know where the bodies are hidden. An anatomy professor, an English professor, and a future med student talk about the history of the human body in medicine, anatomy, and culture. Topics discussed may include medical museums, anatomical grave-robbing, organ transplantation, disability studies, unusual bodies, prosthetics, implants, body modification...whatever catches our interest (and we are interested in some rather odd things).
RTBS 02 03 "COVID-19: Rhetorics of Infection, Resources of Resistance"
In this episode, we join forces with Pitt’s Center for Bioethics & Health Law to present a special Medical Humanities Mondays panel discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic. Mari Webel of Pitt’s Department of History, Lisa S. Parker of the Center for Bioethics & Health Law, and our own Jake Dechant of Pitt’s School of Nursing address the problems of understanding and dealing with a crisis in which we must always act on partial knowledge, filtering that from a tumult of questionable information and disinformation. We discuss the naming of epidemics, the sacrifices of healthcare workers, the pitfalls of modeling, and our favorite sources of reliable information in this wide-ranging discussion. Don't forget to subscribe to Remains to be Seen!
Do not open that airlock: Notes from the COVID-19 Bunker
In this special gonzo episode, Emma, Jake, and Jeff broadcast on improvised equipment from their respective pandemic shelters as the COVID-19 crisis expands faster than any one person can appreciate. We race escalating morbidity and Emma’s dwindling laptop battery as we tackle issues social and scientific, including the racist targeting of Asians in America, the pitfalls of public health education, and the confusing messaging from on high. Before you sacrifice yourself for the good of Wall Street, you need to listen to this one.
Voyage of the Damned: A Cruise through the Coronavirus Epidemic
In this episode, we delve accurately if irreverently into the Covid-19 epidemic. It’s everything you’ve always wanted to know (and probably a few things you didn’t) about how viruses reproduce, or where they hide when they’re not causing us trouble. Along the way, we misidentify the inventor of PCR and riff on the exotic bathroom tissues of Japan and Australia, find out why that surgical mask may not be the protection that you were hoping for, and ring the changes on yeast, Yiddish, and why Batman is always patient zero.
Of Medical Flesh and Blood Libel: The Polish ‘Cadaver Affair,’ Medical Education, and Inter-War Anti-Semitism
In this episode, Natalia Aleksiun, Professor of Modern Jewish History at Touro College, joins us in the studio to discuss her work on Jewish medical students in Central Europe between the world wars. In Poland and elsewhere, nationalist medical students under the rallying cry “Christian Bodies for Christians!” attempted to drive Jewish students out of the medical schools on the argument that Jews did not contribute a “fair share” of their dead for medical/anatomical education. We discuss this strange episode that nevertheless has resonances with the current moment, along with shared passions, strange playground conversations, and why they don’t let Jake carve the turkey. Special thanks to Lisa Parker and the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at in University of Pittsburgh for supporting our web hosting!
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RTBS 01 07 “Plasticize Me: You Too Can Exhibit Human Remains for Entertainment and Profit”
In this episode, your hosts turn their scalpels on the strange and ethically-murky world of human body exhibitions. We discuss Gunther von Hagens, the German anatomist who perfected techniques of plastination, a method of preservation that he later applied to whole human cadavers in his exhibition Bodyworlds. We look at von Hagen’s predecessors, like 17th-century Dutch anatomist Frederik Ruysch, as well as his present-day imitators, who have turned these preserved-anatomy exhibits into an international cash business, with side jaunts into the occupational diseases of anatomists and the dangers lurking in your frying pan.
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RTBS 01 06: “The Fox and the Hound: Co-Evolving with our Furry Friends”
In this episode, we sniff into the strange territory of domestication and co-evolution with our special guest Anne Burrows, Professor of Anatomy at Duquesne University and a member of the research team making big news this summer for their work on the evolution of facial expression in domestic dogs. How does a muscle in a dog’s forehead tug on human heartstrings? What happens when Russian researchers breed wild foxes to tolerate and even love their human keepers? We take a summer walk with our furry friends, with side journeys into the rat, parasitic disease, sugar-free gummi bears, and fecal transplants.
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