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Italian anatomist Anna Manzolini conference in St Louis

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Summary of story from the St. Louis Beacon, January 8, 2012

A female US scholar is expected to enlighten listeners about the life and works of the 18th-century Italian anatomist Anna Morandi Manzolini during a conference at the Washington University in St Louis.

The conference, presented by Rebecca Messbarger and entitled ‘The Enlightenment Pope: Benedict XIV (1675-1758)’, runs from 30 April-2 May and will be hosted by Washington University, Saint Louis University and the Missouri Historical Society.

But what does Anna Morandi Manzolini have to do with Pope Benedict XIV?

According to Messbarger, in Benedict’s Enlightenment-era Italy, learned women, especially scientists like Morandi, were honored.

The pope authorized Manzolini a supply of fresh body parts for dissection and, as archbishop of Bologna, sent out notifications to parish priests to convince parishioners that donating the bodies of the deceased for medical dissection was a church-sanctioned contribution to public health.

Anna Morandi, who originally trained as an artist, became known across Europe for her talent in moulding anatomical models, and was even invited to the court of Catherine II of Russia to present her works.

The story of the future pope, known then as Prospero Lambertini, intersects with Morandi’s story on his decision to found the first anatomical museum in Bologna.

  1. I think these are important figures to be reminded of. That there has been a lot more women active in science than we think.
    But I’m allergic to “female US scholar”. We don’t say “male US scholar”, so that phrase is strengthening the male norm.

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