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Invisible parts: Animals and the renaissance anatomies of human exceptionalism

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Chapter Summary

Human exceptionalismthe idea of a bordered humanity cordoned off by some exclusive and defining feature from the entire balance of all other creaturely kinds, while they, in turn, are herded into the contracted fold of the animalis an excessively familiar habit of thought. This chapter concerns cross-species comparative thinking in the expanding practice of dissective anatomical demonstration in early modernity, and so it charts one historical component of the discursive human/animal divide we have inherited. In this effort, however, it explores a history of human/animal connectedness as much as it does the history of their categorical separation. The chapter mentions three modes of relatedness across species before turning to the specifically anatomical matters of corporeal analogy, bodily substitution, and comparison at issue in Renaissance anatomical research.

Keywords: animal anatomy; human exceptionalism; renaissance anatomy



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