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Birgit Nemec

Born 1983, studied cultural management, history and cultural studies in Vienna and Rome. In 2008 she graduated with a thesis on ‘Renamings of city texts as media of memory politics, Vienna 1910-2010’. Since 2008 she is research fellow at the Department for History of Medicine at the Medical University, Vienna. 2009 she was Visiting Fellow at the Department for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, UK. Research foci include Memory politics, urban history, visual and material cultures of anatomy.

Ph.D. Project Poster

Research Project: Visual Cultures of Anatomy in Vienna, 1900- 1938.

The project aims at investigating images of the human body as artefacts of visual cultures of medical-anatomical production of knowledge, meaning and evidence. 

Anatomists and artists produced in early 20th century Vienna a variety of images of the human body. These images not only gained international prominence but had different functions, uses and meanings in changing historical scientific, political and cultural contexts.  Various media of anatomical visualization such as atlases, medical moulages, models,  illustrations and films competed, both in the academic spheres of medical and art schools as well as in several places of popular negotiation and production of visual cultures of medicine, such as museums or public health education.

With a focus on the period between 1900 and 1938 I examine how knowledge and evidence are produced and propagated in academic and public discourses through specific anatomical respresentations. Investigating this variety of images, the main research questions deal with the transformation of knowledge, political, social and symbolic orders, technologies in the image production, assumptions of corporealities, health and sickness in the context of their popularization in the scientific and philosophical background of early 20th century Vienna.  By looking closer at special features and meanings of the different media,  specific aspects and the singularity of a Viennese tradition in the anatomical depiction (in comparison with international tendencies) is to be analysed.

Despite a strong tradition in the interrelatedness of art and medicine in Austria, visual cultures of medicine in Vienna are underexamined, so far. The historical, source- based project investigates, how concepts of corporeality and subjectivity are implemented in producing and conveying knowledge about the body and how they relate to/interfere with changing contexts and national biopolitic concepts.


Nemec, B. (2013, accepted) Die visuelle Kulturen der Anatomie. Wien, 1900-1838. In: Horn, Sonia (Eds): Die Geschichte der Wiener Anatomie. Verlagshaus der Ärzte, Wien.

Nemec, B. and Taschwer, K. (2013) Anatomie des Antisemitismus. In: Rathkolb (et.al.) (Eds.): Der Lange Schatten des Antisemitismus. Wien.

Nemec, B. (2012) Das Um-Schreiben urbaner Topographien – Gedächtnispolitik durch Straßenumbenennungen. Wien, 1910–2010In: Erker/Salzmann/Dreidemy/Klaudija Sabo (Hrsg.): Update! Perspektiven der Zeitgeschichte. Wien. Studien Verlag

Nemec, B. (2010a) Zweifel am Geständnis. Wahrheit und Urteil in der Kriminologie von Hans Gross. In: Das Geständnis und seine Instanzen. Zur Bedeutungsverschiebung des Geständnisses im Prozess der Moderne. Wien: Turia + Kant.

Nemec, B. (2010b) Die Politik der Wiener Straßennamen. In: Gedenkdienst 2. Wien. 3


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