Browse Exhibits (2 total)
In the early-modern period, knowledge was used to control and justify the persecution of queer people. This knowledge derived from the new practices of anatomy and geography, which sought to categorise humans and understand how biology and culture influenced behaviour. This exhibition shows how scientific discourses played a part in the formation of European racism and queerphobia.
The Case of Catherine Vizzani (1751) is a unique combination of travel narrative, erotic novel, medical treatise and moral pamphlet. It was translated by the former pornographer John Cleland from the Italian surgeon Giovanni Bianchi's original Breve storia della vita di Catterina Vizzani romana (1743). It is divided into a preface on the nature of love (likely written by John Cleland), a narrative that recount's Giovanni Bordoni's (aka Catherine Vizzzani) life as a transgender man, serial lover and criminal kidnapper, an anatomical treatise on Bordoni's autopsy, and a condemnation of Bordoni by Cleland. This exhibition departs from standard readings of the text by viewing Bordoni as a transgender man, and by focusing on his life, rather than his death.