Diagnostic Physiognomy: From Phrenology to Fingerprints

Sharrona Pearl, Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science, Regional Colloquium

Friday, October 3, 2008 - 3:00pm

The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia

Time: 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., followed by social hour and light dinner Location: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust Street Directions: http://www.librarycompany.org/about/access.htm This chapter excerpt from the forthcoming book "Facing the Victorians: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain" explores the use of physiognomy as a classificatory technology in medical and anthropological practice. As the century progressed, modes of classification shifted from the individual to the group, and physiognomical applications changed accordingly. In this piece, Pearl uses the writings of Francis Galton to chronicle these changes and argues for a reemergence of the individual with innovations in fingerprinting and psychoanalysis at the end of the nineteenth century.