Dissecting Race: An Examination of Anatomical Illustration and the Absence of Non-White Bodies
This thesis is an examination of representations of non-white bodies in the anatomical illustrations used in biomedical pedagogical literature. Particular attention has been paid in recent years to the lack of female representation in anatomical texts and atlases but very little has been said about the distinct lack of non-white bodies in the same pages. The anatomical atlases and texts that support biomedical pedagogy purport to use a representative ‘universalized’ human body that de-emphasizes variation for the purposes of teaching. A survey of anatomical literature indicates that the ‘universalized’ human is in all actuality consistently rendered as a Caucasian male. Using ideas drawn from visual representation theory, I will analyse the manner in which the Caucacentric ‘universal’ human was created and how it has been used and continues to be used in anatomical atlases and texts to position the Caucasian male as hierarchically superior to all Other bodies.