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Charles Bell and the Anatomy of Reform$
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Carin Berkowitz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226280394

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226280424.001.0001

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Pedagogy Inside and Outside the Medical Classroom

Pedagogy Inside and Outside the Medical Classroom

Training the Hand and Eye to Know

(p.44) Chapter Two Pedagogy Inside and Outside the Medical Classroom
Charles Bell and the Anatomy of Reform

Carin Berkowitz

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the ways in which Charles Bell conducted his classes inside various medical classrooms and the ways in which those contents of the classroom were delivered to wider publics. The chapter begins by entering Bell’s Great Windmill Street classroom and museum, looking at his teaching practices by examining the role of visual displays in making medicine memorable. Drawings, models, and preserved specimens that represented knowledge of human anatomy, aesthetics, and the best means of instruction for Bell, allowed him to teach both medical and non-medical men effectively. Creating anatomical models and drawings was thought to discipline the surgeon’s hand, while the study of anatomy and comparative anatomy would discipline the artist’s eye. In addition, Bell believed that because the world was beautiful, simple, and ‘readable’; and he imparted beauty to his drawings, thinking them better teaching tools and more accurate depictions because they were aesthetically pleasing. This aesthetic and pedagogical philosophy drew from popular ideas about sensory knowledge and object lessons and notions about how memories (the foundations from which knowledge was developed) were best created, and it informed Bell’s attempts to teach wider, sometimes non-medical audiences both in his classes and through print.

Keywords:   The Great Windmill Street School, systems of display, anatomical drawings, specimens, models, preparations, Bridgewater Treatise on The Hand, object learning, pedagogy

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