An Organ of Murder?

An Organ of Murder?

Constant Wonder

Phrenology: The Shape of the Skull and Moral Character

Episode: Phrenology: The Shape of the Skull and Moral Character

  • Mar 3, 2021 7:00 pm
  • 47:23 mins

Phrenology is the study of how the shape of one’s skull affects one’s moral character, and it was used by the 19th-century legal system to both convict and defend the accused. Its practice led courts to debate insanity defenses, eugenics, and whether criminals could ever reform. While we dismiss it as pseudoscience now, we can still see traces of the practice today. Guest: Courtney Thompson, Assistant Professor of History at Mississippi State University and author of " An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America"

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