Expert on death in Western culture to speak at Friends of Health Sciences Library annual program

Release Date: September 24, 2014

Brandi Shillace, PhD,

Brandi Shillace, PhD,

BUFFALO, N.Y. – This year the 2014 Annual Friends of the University at Buffalo Health Sciences Library Program will host noted scholar, Brandy Schillace, PhD, research associate at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Sages Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University.

Schillace’s presentation, titled “Naissance Macabre: Birth, Death and Female Anatomy,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6 in 105 Harriman on UB’s South Campus. The cost is $8 for Friends members, $15 for Non-Friends members and $5 for students.

For more information on the program visit:

In her talk, Schillace, who describes herself as an “author, historian and adventurer at the intersection,” which is a way of explaining that she works across the disciplines of medical history and humanities, will discuss historical approaches to death in western culture and western medicine.

She will also speak about the imagery of death and life pictured together, frequently in the form of a young and beautiful woman. The juxtaposition symbolized how fleeting life could be, and served as a warning against vice and vanity. She says that while death and the maiden might remind viewers of their own mortality, another set of images became far more instructive to the preservation of life: death and the mother—the anatomy of the pregnant womb.

Schillace received her PhD in English from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. She has been the managing editor of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry since 2007. She is widely published on a variety of subjects related to medical humanities such as “Birth Rights: Exploring the Medical Fight over ‘Labor’ in the 18th Century,” “Virtual Memory: Medical History and Public Engagement in the Digital Age,” and “Curing ‘Moral Disability’: Brain Trauma and Self-Control in Victorian Fiction.”

Her latest book, “Death’s Summer Coat: What the history of Death and Dying can tell us about Life and Living,” will be released in 2015 through Elliott and Thompson Press, UK.

A reception will follow in the R.L. Brown Collection, Abbott Hall, B5, also on the South Campus.


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