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Down to the Bone: Dissecting Blackness in Khedival Egypt with Taylor Moore, UC Santa Barbara

The Qasr el-Ainy Hospital and Medical School, one of the oldest and most influentialmedical institutions in the Middle East, played a pivotal role in the development ofmodern Egypt. Scholars have argued that the institution’s groundbreaking curriculum indissection and autopsy created the foundation for influential legal and medical reformsin the nineteenth century—ultimately giving way to the biopolitical technologies of themodern Egyptian state. Yet, if dissection and autopsy played a pivotal role in Egyptianmodernity, whose lives and whose bodies subsidized this work? This talk reveals thatdevelopment of modern medical practice in Khedival Egypt, and the practice ofdissection and autopsy, relied on the (mis)use of living and dead enslaved Africans sincethe Medical School’s inception in 1837. Bringing historiographies of race and slavery tobear on the social and institutional histories of the medicine in Egypt, I put forth twointerconnected arguments: First, the development of modern medical practice in Egyptwas built on the labor and bodies of Black Africans, many of whom were enslaved.Second, Qasr el-Ainy Medical School and Hospital instrumentalized the dead bodies andskeletal remains of Black Africans to produce a particularly global race science in thelate nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Hosted by the History of Science & Medicine and SHEA (STEM & Health Equity Advocates).

Yale students, faculty and staff may attend in person. All others may join via Zoom.

Location: Humanities Quadrangle – HQ, 320 York St., Room 276

Zoom Info: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Password: 946628

Or Telephone:203-432-9666 (2-ZOOM if on-campus) or 646 568 7788

Meeting ID: 924 5265 9113

International numbers available:


Host Organization




Lectures and Seminars