Time to Eat the Dogs

A Podcast About Science, History, and Exploration

Faces, Beauty, and the Brain

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“An ideal head, destitute of character” Johann Lavater, 1792.

Rachel Walker talks about physiognomy — the study of the human face — and why it was so popular among scientists and the general public in the 18th and 19th centuries. Walker is an assistant professor of history at the University of Hartford. She is completing a book based on her dissertation, “A Beautiful Mind: Faces, Beauty, and the Brain in the Anglo-Atlantic World, 1780-1860.”

Walker - Headshot

Rachel Walker

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2 Comments»

  Nicole Sauvageau wrote @

Interesting topic!!! I was wondering how physiognomy could be viewed in light of this age of facial recognition software? Good, bad or indifferent?

  Michael Robinson wrote @

Great question. Rachel’s book focuses on 18th and 19th centuries, but in the last part of her interview, she talks about the way physiognomy has made its way back into scientific debates as well as ethical issues such as facial recognition. Thanks for writing!


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