Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 85–107

Virtual Anatomy: From the Body in the Text to the Body on the Screen

  • Catherine Waldby

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009070413872

Cite this article as:
Waldby, C. Journal of Medical Humanities (2000) 21: 85. doi:10.1023/A:1009070413872


This paper analyzes the transformations in anatomical representation introduced by the Visible Human Project, the first complete virtual anatomy object. By comparing the process of production of book based classical anatomy with that of the Visible Human Project, the paper identifies the medium specificity of anatomical knowledge, the extent to which its powers of demonstration and analysis are conditioned by the medium in which they take place. The paper argues that anatomy can be productively thought of as a kind of writing practice, in which material flesh is written into different media as traces. Because the production of such traces always involves the destruction of the body involved the paper also interrogates the biopolitical hierarchies involved in anatomical knowledge.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Waldby
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre in HIV Social ResearchThe University of New South WalesAustralia

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