Henry Cartmel
1892 The Lancet  
457 various existing institutions where medical students might be t( taught elementary anthropology, but none of them are h available for the purpose at the present time. A few years ti ago I drew up a scheme for such a school and submitted it s; privately to some of our leading anthropologists, but I n received no encouragement ; and later, when the laboratories c at the Examination Hall of the College of Physicians and p Surgeons were being organised, I suggested that room s should be found
more » ... r an anthropometric laboratory, but f to no purpose, as in the present state of medical t science it is useless to place the study of the whole living I human being in rivalry with the study of a blood-corpuscle, f a nerve cell or a bacterium. The museum of the College of c Surgeons would be an ideal place for anthropological teaching, c as Mr. Ellis suggests, but the present conservative council of t the college is not likely to provide such instruction without a s good deal of pressure from without. The Anthropological B Institute is a learned society which is engaged in collecting t and publishing the work of experts, and has no convenience or staff for giving elementary instruction ; while the laboraa tory at South Kensington is rather a collection of models and new inventions which require the hand of the inventor to 1 set them in motion. What is immediately wanted is a scheme showing the relation of anthropology to medical science. Mr. Ellis thinks anthropology would help the students of insanity ' and other diseases of the nervous system, and this is among the chief uses it has been put to ; but it would be of still : greater use to the students of public health, especially that branch of anthropology dealing with measurements which is : known as anthropometry. Medical men are more immediately concerned with the variations of the complexion, of the senses and of the physical proportions of the body in civilised races and their relations to the conditions under which different classes live, and all these variations can be, and ought to be, defined by measurement; but prehistoric and antiquarian anthropology and the details of the habits and customs of savage tribes are only interesting indirectly to them as travellers or practitioners abroad. Criminal anthropology, about which we have heard so much lately, is based on measurements of healthy, and it may be degraded, but not diseased, individuals, and a comparison of them with other classes of society, especially the class from which they come. (Dr. Clouston, by the way, was in error when he said recently in Edinburgh that no attention had been given to the classes from which criminals come, as he will find af he consults the various reports of the Anthropometric Committee.) It is of little use, therefore, to write papers and make speeches on the desirability of including anthropology in our medical education to lecturers and examiners, who have already too much work on their hands to admit of their entertaining any change if they can possibly avoid it. What is wanted is that Mr. Havelock Ellis, Dr. Clouston and others, who have come to see the importance of such an addition to the medical student's studies, should draw up a scheme of what they want teaching, and submit it to the authorities most likely to carry it out. They must also be prepared to say what part of the curriculum can be omitted to make room for this new subject. Mr. Ellis suggests that botany might be left out, but botany has long since disappeared from the medical schools, and it should be, I think, the anatomy and physiology courses which should make room for anthropology. Might not sufficient time be carved out of that which is at present devoted to microscopic work ? The student certainly should be taught that it is a whole living being, and not an infinite fragment of one, that he has to deal with in practice. I am, Sirs, your obedient servant, -----
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(01)86519-3 fatcat:zwydgljnongpvcatsob6pbuosq