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Artificial Parts, Practical Lives

Modern Histories of Prosthetics

Artificial Parts, Practical Lives by Katherine Ott
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From the wooden teeth of George Washington to the Bly prosthesis, popular in the 1860s and boasting easy uniform motions of the limb, to today's lifelike approximations, prosthetic devices reveal the extent to which the evolution and design of technologies of the body are intertwined with both the practical and subjective needs of human beings.

The peculiar history of prosthetic devices sheds light on the relationship between technological change and the civilizing process of modernity, and analyzes the concrete materials of prosthetics which carry with them ideologies of body, ideals, body politics, and culture.

Simultaneously critiquing, historicizing, and theorizing prosthetics, Artificial Parts, Practical Lives lays out a balanced and complex picture of its subject, neither vilifying nor celebrating the merger of flesh and machine.

NYU Press; March 2002
365 pages; ISBN 9780814762431
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Title: Artificial Parts, Practical Lives
Author: Katherine Ott; David H. Serlin; Stephen Mihm
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