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Research Interests

My research focuses on the study of the cultural history of eighteenth-century medicine, with a special emphasis on themes at the crossroads of medical history, the history of the body, gender history, and the history of visual and material cultures of medicine. My research interests have accordingly extended to a variety of topics related to the histories of bodily displays, the self-construction and self-experience of bodies, and the relationship between space, mobility, and medical knowledge. I have an ongoing interest in the history of the relationship between body and self, with particular reference to the domains of nutrition and bodily regimen. Accordingly, I have investigated eighteenth-century dieting and weight-watching practices, accounts and representations of corpulence, and the use of medical doctrines in eighteenth-century discussions of bodily resurrection.

My forthcoming book Malleable Anatomies focuses on the early stages of the practice anatomical modeling in mid-eighteenth-century Italy, and reconstructs how anatomical displays developed at the intersections of medical discourse, religious imagery, antiquarian and artistic cultures, and Grand Tour display. Moreover, it investigates the development of anatomical modeling as a reliable source of medical knowledge and a medium of medical authority, and examines the role of artisanal cultures in medical pursuits.

In my new project, tentatively titled Medical Frontiers, I investigate the role of medical knowledge in defining categories of proximity and distance in the eighteenth-century Mediterranean world. In particular, I explore how medical spaces and medical practices contributed to shape a dynamic relationship between movement, locality, and knowledge.

Selected publications

Malleable Anatomies (Oxford University Press), forthcoming.

– ‘“Une dentelle très bien agencée et très precise”: les femmes et l’anatomie dans l’Europe du dix-huitième siècle’, Adeline Gargam (ed.), Sur les traces d’Hypatie. Réalités et représentations des femmes de sciences avant Marie Curie (Dijon, Editions universitaires de Dijon, 2014), pp. 157-175.

– ‘Ai confini del mondo naturale: anatomia e santità nell’opera di Prospero Lambertini’, in Maria Teresa Fattori (ed.,) Storia, medicina e diritto nei trattati di Prospero Lambertini – Benedetto XIV (Rome, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2013), pp. 318-338.

– ‘Balancing Acts: Picturing Perspiration in the Long Eighteenth Century’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43, 2012, pp. 379-391.

– ‘The Anatomy of the Pope’, in M. P. Donato and J. Kraye (eds.), Conflicting Duties. Science, Medicine and Religion in Rome, 1550-1750 (London, the Warburg Institute, 2009), pp. 353–374.

– ‘Women, Wax and Anatomy in the “Century of Things”’, Renaissance Studies, 21/4, 2007, pp. 522–550.

– ‘Resurrecting by Numbers in Eighteenth-Century England’, Past and Present, 2006, 193, pp. 73–110.

– ‘Waxworks and the Performance of Anatomy in Mid- Eighteenth-Century Italy’, Endeavour, 30/1, 2006, pp. 29–35.

– ‘“Useless and Pernicious Matter”: Corpulence in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, in A. Carden-Coyne and C. Forth (eds.), Cultures of the Abdomen: Diet, Digestion and Fat in the Modern World (New York, Palgrave, 2005), pp. 185–204.

– ‘Noting the Mind: Commonplace Books and the Pursuit of the Self in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 65/4, 2004, pp. 603–625.

– ‘“To What Purpose Does It Think?”: Dreams, Sick Bodies, and Confused Minds in the Age of Reason’, History of Psychiatry, 15/4, 2004, pp. 395–416.

– ‘Living with the Chair: Private Excreta, Collective Health and Medical Authority in the Eighteenth Century’, History of Science, 2001, 39, pp. 467–500.

– ‘From Parsnips to Eternity: Dieting in Straight Lines’, in A. Cunningham and N. Jardine (eds.), Garden Party Talks 2: On Food, The Cambridge Group for the History of Natural History and the Environmental Sciences, Cambridge University, 1998, pp. 25–39.


Esther Atkinson (Supervisor), “Anomalous Bodies: Representations of Children’s Deformities in Britain, 1740-1790”, in progress.

Oana Baboi (Supervisor), “Healing the Jesuit Body: Medical Knowledge and Materia Medica in 17th century Jesuit Missions”, in progress

John Christopoulos, (Supervisor), “Abortion in Late-Renaissance Italy,” conferred June 2013.

Jennifer Fraser (Supervisory committee), “From Carcinomas to Eskimomas: Race and Risk Assessment in Canadian cancer control”, in progress.

Delia Gavrus, (Co-supervisor / Pauline M. H. Mazumdar), “Men of Strong Opinions: Identity, Self-Representation, and the Performance of Neurosurgery,” conferred November 2011.

Vivien Hamilton, (Supervisory committee), “’Incongruent Bedfellows’: Physics and Medicine in the Formation of North American and British Radiology, 1896-1930,” conferred November 2012.

Brigit Ramsingh, (Co-supervisor / Pauline M. H. Mazumdar), “The History of International Food Safety Standards and the Codex Alimentarius, 1955-1995,” conferred November 2011.

Sheena Sommers, History Department (Supervisory committee), August 2007 –September 2012.

Kelsy Vivash, The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (Supervisory committee),
“Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Bodily Fluids in Theatre, Drama and Performance”, in progress.

Jaipreet Virdi-Dhesi, (Supervisor), “From the Hands of Quacks: Aural Surgery, Deafness, and the Making of a Specialty in 19th Century London,” conferred November 2014.

Erich Weidenhammer, (Co-supervisor / Trevor Levere), “Air, Disease, and Improvement in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Sir John Pringle (1707-1782),” conferred November 2014.


Contact Information

  • Personal Title: Associate Professor and Pauline M.H. Mazumdar Chair in the History of Medicine
  • Location: VC 305
  • Telephone number: +1 (416) 978–4959
  • E-mail address: lucia.dacome@utoronto.ca