Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Anthropology

  • The interplay of spirituality and traditional medicine in Indonesia

    Shabrina JarrellCharleston, West Virginia, United States In the cultural fabric of Indonesia, spiritual healing has thrived for centuries. The practice of spiritual and traditional healing remains relevant alongside modern medical advances. The contrast and interplay of traditional wisdom and contemporary influences is particularly apparent in a nation characterized by rich cultural diversity. While interest in…

  • Adolf Bastian, pioneering anthropologist

    Adolf Bastian (1826–1905) was one of the pioneers of modern anthropology, born June 26, 1826, in Bremen, Germany. This multicultural port city exposed him to many different cultures and customs, eventually igniting his interest in studying different societies. From his father, who belonged to a well-known merchant family, he inherited a strong instinct for business…

  • Studying mummies and eggs: The delights of paleopathology

    Paleopathology is the study of disease by using mummified and skeletal remains, documents, early books, paintings, sculptures, and coprolites. Earlier investigators such as Esper and Cuvier focused on non-human specimens, but later ones expanded their interests to humans. They studied the ancient Egyptians and found evidence of osteoarthritis, tuberculosis, leprosy, and smallpox, as well as…

  • Marc Ruffer, founder of paleopathology

    Sir Marc Armand Ruffer (1859–1917) is considered the founder of paleopathology, the study of disease in human remains. He was born in Lyons, France, the son of Swiss banker Baron Jacques de Ruffer and a German mother. He was educated in Germany and France, Oxford and London, and worked for a short time on rabies…

  • More on Arthur Aufderheide, the mummy doctor (1922–2013)

    Arthur C. Aufderheide (1922–2013) received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1943 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1952. After completing his education, he became a professor at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and spent most of his active life there. Aufderheide’s major contribution to anthropology…

  • Tattoos in the twentieth century

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “It was in 1972 and you didn’t really go around showing tattoos or talking about them…And now all of a sudden it has become the thing to do.”1– Cher, American singer, actor Placing dyes or pigments into the dermis to form a design dates back at least 12,000 years. Tattooing was seen…

  • Rudolf Virchow and the anthropology of race

    Friedrich C. LuftDetlev GantenBerlin, Germany Rudolf Virchow, born in 1821, was arguably the most important German physician, biologist, social scientist, and anthropologist of the nineteenth century. His establishment of cellular pathology is known by all and his comment that “politics is nothing more than medicine on a grand scale” is recalled by many. Less appreciated…

  • Dr. Aufderheide and the mummies

    Philip R. LiebsonChicago, Illinois, United States Paleopathology, the study of early animal and human artifacts, offers a historical perspective of disease and injury in the distant past. It uses skeletal and mummified remains as the substrate for this analysis. The discipline is about 200 years old and initially the analysis was based on abnormalities of…

  • The role of lullabies in mother-baby attachment

    Özge SuzanNursan ÇinarSakarya, Turkey A lullaby is defined as a sweet, gentle song that is sung to entice a baby to sleep. In Turkish folklore, a mother’s voice is very important for her baby. An example of this can be found in the following text: “Uyusun da büyüsün, ninni, tıpış tıpış yürüsün, Ninni”“Grow up in…

  • Obstetrical fistula: A malady hidden by shame

    Layla A. Al-JailaniYemen Nouria strolls across the kitchen, making lunch for her family as she does every day. Her stride is slightly wobbly, but any observer would think this was a healthy young woman. What they do not see, however, is the hidden anguish, pain, and shame that tears at her body and eats through…