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RAHS Day Lecture – The Power to Read Others: Popular Phrenology in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, 3 July 2024 @ 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm

Event Location: Online via Zoom

Cost: Free

Event Description:

The contentious science of phrenology once promised insight into character and intellect through external ‘reading’ of the head. In the transforming settler-colonial landscapes of nineteenth-century Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, and well into the twentieth century, popular phrenologists performed their science of touch and cranial jargon everywhere from mechanics’ institutions to public houses. Alexandra Roginski invites us into a history of this everyday practice and to reflecting on the enduring appeal of a shortcut to knowing who we can trust.

About the speaker:

Dr Alexandra Roginski is a historian, writer and heritage worker based in Melbourne on Wurundjeri Country. Her work focuses on practices and ideas of the body, past and present. She is the author, most recently, of Science and Power in the Nineteenth-Century Tasman World: Popular Phrenology in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

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