Dr Mechthild Fend
London, 16 November 2016, 5:30 pm
Admission free; please register for this event on our Eventbrite page here.
It engages with a curious hair condition consisting of entangled, matted hair forming braids that were occasionally even said to bleed. The phenomenon was medicalised from ca 1600 onwards and locally confined to Eastern Europe, specifically Poland, and generally referred to as Plica Polonica. Only towards the end of the nineteenth century medical profesionals agreed that the alleged pathological condition was simply an issue of hygiene.The paper will focus on early-nineteenth-century Paris and dermatological publications which invoke the spectre of Medusa to describe the condition. Taking the case of the Plica as an example, it will raise the question of how images deal with terrifying sights.