School of Social and Political Science

Anna Kuslits

Job Title

PhD student

Research interests

Research interests

History of medicine, history of the body, museum studies, anatomical collections, Scottish Enlightenment, gender and Enlightenment thought, gender in the history of science, technology and medicine


I am a PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies (STS) researching anatomical collecting in eighteenth-century Edinburgh, funded by the ESRC. My project focuses on the Monro Collection of eighteenth-century anatomical artefacts housed at the Anatomical Museum of the University of Edinburgh.

I have a background in Comparative Literature and Gender Studies. It was during my Master's degree in Gender Studies that I developed an interest in eighteenth-century anatomy through reading feminist scholarship on the construction of sex, sexuality and race within scientific discourse, as well as feminist (and queer) theories of the body; both of which inform my current research. My broader research interests include the history of the body, the history of medicine, museums, and material culture.


  • MSc by Research in Science and Technology Studies, the University of Edinburgh, 2017
  • MA in Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest, 2010
  • MA in Comparative Literature, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, 2009
  • MA in English Language and Literature, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, 2009

Teaching Experience

I'm tutoring on Introduction to Historiography (HIST08044).

PhD Project

PhD Supervisors

Prof Steve Sturdy

Dr Gill Haddow

PhD Project

Anatomical Collecting in Eighteenth-Century Edinburgh: Practices, Artefacts, Knowledge (working title)


Over the past two centuries, the focus of medical research has gradually shifted from gross anatomy to smaller and smaller entities, down to the molecular level. In parallel to this development, new imaging technologies have emerged enabling the production of lasting visual representations of the body interior with ever increasing accuracy. As a result, anatomy and pathology collections have become virtually obsolete for medical research and training. Yet, these collections bear continued relevance to understanding our medical cultural heritage. Historical anatomical artefacts hold crucial insights into past conceptualisations of health and illness, views of – and attitudes towards – the body, methods of medical and surgical instruction, or the making of medical knowledge, among other things.

My research looks at the Monro dynasty's anatomical collection – a fraction of which still survives at the Anatomy Museum of the University of Edinburgh – and aims to explore the subtle and complex relationships between anatomical preparation practices, the resulting artefacts, and the content of anatomical knoweldge within the epistemic culture of eighteenth-century Edinburgh anatomy.

  • To examine how Edinburgh anatomists adopted ideas, skills, and techniques of anatomical investigation originating in continental Europe, while simultaneously transforming them in the local (social, political, cultural and institutional) context
  • To map out the social and material networks upon which the assembling of the Monro Collection rested
  • To explore how collections of anatomical artefacts were used to authenticate knowledge claims while raising the social prestige of anatomical work
  • To examine the role anatomical and pathological artefacts (and collections of such artefacts) played in the making of a new body of pathological knowledge, based on the anatomical localisation of disease


Conference presentations:


Anatomical collecting as a form of sociability in eighteenth-century Edinburgh

Workshop on the material cultures of urban knowledge communities, 1500-1800, University of Kent


Anatomical Collecting in Eighteenth-Century Edinburgh: Practices, Artefacts, Knowledge

British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester


Gender politics in eighteenth-century anatomical literature: The question of foetal nutrition

Politics of the Gendered Body Symposium, Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Book review:
  • (2013) 'On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life by Sara Ahmed',  Graduate Journal of Social Science 10(3): 159-162.
Translation (from English into Hungarian):
  • (2011) 'Martha Nussbaum: Az undor mint politikai tényező', (original title: 'The Politics of Disgust'), Café Bábel 63: 39-50.