CORVALLIS - Elizabeth Williams, an associate professor at Oklahoma State University, will deliver the final lecture in Oregon State University's Horning Lecture Series, which has focused on "Religion and the Body."
Williams' lecture, "Soul and the Body in the French Medical Enlightenment," will begin at 4 p.m. in Thursday, May 13, in Memorial Union Room 206. It is free and open to the public.
In her talk, Williams will argue that 18th century medical advances in anatomy and physiology did not necessarily make physicians appear as "zealous anti-clerics...pitilessly hostile to religion and an immortal soul."
Another way to look at the medical enlightenment, says Williams, is that those advances didn't attack the existence of a Christian soul as much as they reconfigured the soul in a new physiology of "the heart, the thoughts, the will, and the inclinations."
A member of the history faculty at Oklahoma State, Williams has a Ph.D. from Indiana University. She has written numerous scholarly articles on 18th- and 19th-century medicine, science and culture. Williams is working on a history of the Montpellier School of Medicine, which was one of the leading medical schools of the 18th century.