Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums

Stephen T. Asma, Author Oxford University Press $30 (303p) ISBN 978-0-19-513050-8
Artfully posed human skeletons and ""monster"" fetuses in jars are the stuff of Stephen T. Asma's fascinating Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums. A professor of philosophy and interdisciplinary humanities at Chicago's Columbia College, Asma (Buddha for Beginners) dissects and catalogues his extensive research in this rigorous, entertaining work of cultural criticism. He investigates the history of ""acceptable"" scientific practice and affords philosophical insight into the scientific and human impulse to categorize: ""To have a concept... is to have its negation already in tow.... There is a class of things called `dog,' and there is a class of things (quite substantial, in fact) that are `not-dog.'... Language and thought cannot really function without this most basic tool for carving up reality."" Photos and illus. ( Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-19-516336-0
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