What does the infamous face transplant in France in 2005 share with the examination of “swollen faces” in Latin America in the 1930s? What does blood transfusion in Europe during the 17th century have in common with the discovery of mosquitoes as parasitic vectors in China at the close of the 19th century? And, last, how does the reconstruction of noses using skin flaps in Bologna in the 16th century relate to the opening of a forehead cyst in Guatemala in 1916? The six essays that form Figures of Medicine present a wealth of symmetries. François Delaporte shows that each epistemological concern demands its own mode of engagement; problems reside not only in their objects but also in the historical situations in which they emerge. Focusing on efforts to resolve medical problems that are particular and nonetheless exemplary, Delaporte unpacks these separate cases to show how multiple actorsover long periods of time and across different geographiesmust be taken into account to remove epistemological blockages that stand in the way of understanding. A remarkable contribution to the history of science and medicine, this book shows the value of historical epistemology from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives.
About the Author
François Delaporte is Professor Emeritus of the University of Picardia Jules Verne. Several of his books have been translated into English, including Disease and Civilization: The Cholera in Paris, 1832; The History of Yellow Fever; Anatomy of the Passions; and Nature’s Second Kingdom. He also edited A Vital Rationalist:Selected Writings of Georges Canguilhem.
Nils F. Schott is the James M. Motley Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. The author of The Conversion of Knowledge, he is the co-editor, with Hent de Vries, of Love and Forgiveness for a More Just World (Columbia University Press, 2015) as well as translator and co-editor, with Alexandre Lefebvre, of Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Henri Bergson.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Foreword to the English-Language Edition Christopher Lawrence xi
Foreword to the French Edition Emmanuel Fournier xv
Translator's Note xxiii
1 Animal Blood 1
2 Fabricating Noses 25
3 The Face Transplant 60
4 The Manson Effect 86
5 Robles Disease 113
6 Chagas's Error 135