About the Author

Isabel Atzl

E-Mail: Mail@isabelatzl.de

Website: http://pflegederdinge.de/englishsummary

Isabel Atzl worked for ten years as a trained nurse before studying History and Philosophy at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Since 2005 she has worked as a freelance exhibition curator for various museums and institutes in Germany and Switzerland. She currently works at the Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité on the history of medicine within the research project “Care and Things” (Pflegedinge). Her research interests include the history of medicine, the history of nursing, object-centered research and historical scientific collections.

Contributions by Author: Isabel Atzl

Pot and Power

The Role of the Nonhuman in a Very Human Business

The significance of material objects (which we define as the ‘nonhuman’ in this paper) in the formation of culture and cultures is unchallenged, not just since the term “material turn” was coined some decades ago. [1], [2] In our following deliberations, we explore the constitutive role of the nonhuman in historical and contemporary socio-cultural formations in a context which is said to be ‘human-centered’: the daily care of people of various ages with disabilities or illnesses. Accordingly, we define material objects which are produced for and/or used in care and nursing settings (such as toilet chairs, urinals or incontinence draw sheets) as the non-human: they are the consumable material appliances utilized when people care for other people.