Inside My Insides


Inside My Insides


Semi-finalist in the Graduate Image of Research Contest 2016.


The questions that drive my research are, How is medical and scientific knowledge created? How does it circulate? In my dissertation, I looked specifically at ideas about food and bodies in late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Saxon Germany. I believe that knowledge about bodies extends along a spectrum from recognized experts like physicians to laypeople and patients, who know their own bodies best. This is an image of the anatomical flap doll in Friedrich Eduard Bilz's extremely popular manual, The New Naturopathy: Text- and Reference Book of Natural Healing and Hygiene (1925). Far from anatomical or physiological knowledge being the sole property of doctors and scientists, it actually circulated widely in traveling hygiene shows and books such as this one. Germans assimilated facts about calories and the digestive system, opinions about what a healthy
meal looks like, and statistics about agriculture and public health into a mental model of the German nation comprised of German citizens that I call the telescopic body. This body concept stretched from the molecular through the communal to the (inter)national and
informed medical practice, social movements, and political decisions. Rather than merely having an inside and an outside, the telescopic body's insides had insides.


Kristen Ann Ehrenberger




This image was taken in the library of the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden.


Copyright 2016 Kristen Ann Ehrenberger


Medical Scholars Program/History

Original Format





Kristen Ann Ehrenberger, “Inside My Insides,” Image of Research: Celebrating Student Research at Illinois, accessed December 10, 2018,