In and Chun
In and Chun
This chapter focuses on the life of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker, more famously known as the “Siamese twins,” in the United States. It first provides a background on the twins' birth and childhood in Siam before turning to a discussion of their arrival in Boston in the summer of 1829, courtesy of British merchant Robert Hunter and American sea captain Abel Coffin. It then considers how Chang and Eng became instruments that enabled the American public to get a fuller picture of Siam, and how Siam and the twins came to occupy a prominent spot in the way Americans imagined the Orient. It also examines how the twins' condition raised physical questions about the human anatomy and metaphysical questions about the nature of the self. Finally, the chapter assesses the impact of phrenology and physiognomy on the medical men who examined Chang and Eng.
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