Rachel Prentice, "Bodies in Formation: An Ethnography of Anatomy and Surgery Education" (Duke UP, 2013)


Rachel Prentice's new book blends methodological approaches from science studies and anthropology to produce a riveting account of anatomical and surgical education in twenty-first century North America. Bodies in Formation: An Ethnography of Anatomy and Surgery Education (Duke University Press, 2013) carefully considers three field sites in which physical interaction is crucial to the development of medical knowledge: anatomy labs in which students dissect human cadavers, operating rooms that serve as spaces for surgical training, and design labs that are creating the body as a "computational object" at the same time that they produce technologies for simulating surgery and dissection or virtually enabling it from afar. Prentice offers a fascinating window into the aspects of medical education that produce the technical, ethical, and affective modes of the medical and surgical self. It is a sensorily-grounded, embodied ethnography that considers its bodies - of cadavers, of surgeons, of computer programs, of students, of patients - simultaneously as material entities and active participants in the narrative. Enjoy!

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