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.
1 Engineering Masculinity: Veterans and Prosthetics after World War Two
2 Re-Arming the Disabled Veteran: Artificially Rebuilding State and Society in World War One Germany
3 From Cotton to Silicone: Breast Prosthesis before 1950
4 ”How a One-Legged Rebel Lives”: Confederate Veterans and Artificial Limbs in Virginia
5 Hard Wear and Soft Tissue: Craft and Commerce in Artificial Eyes
6 Modern Miracles: The Development of Cosmetic Prosthetics
7 Casing the Joint: The Material Development of Artificial Hips
8 ”There’s No Language for This”: Communication and Alignment in Contemporary Prosthetics
III: Use and Representation
9 The Prosthetics of Management: Motion Study, Photography, and the Industrialized Body in World War I America
10 ”A Limb Which Shall Be Presentable in Polite Society”: Prosthetic Technologies in the Nineteenth Century
11 The Long Arm of Benjamin Franklin
12 Technology Sits Cross-Legged: Developing the Jaipur Foot Prothesis
"These essays are valuable first forays into the history of prosthetics."-Technology and Culture