When nineteenth-century Londoners looked at each other, what did they see, and how did they want to be seen? Sharrona Pearl reveals the way that physiogmy, the study of facial features and their relationship to character, shaped the way that people understood one ather and presented themselves. Physiogmy was initially a practice used to get information about others, but soon became a way to self-consciously give information - on stage, in print, in images, in research, and especially on the street. Moving through a wide range of media, Pearl shows how physiogmical tions rested on instinct and honed a kind of shared subjectivity. She looks at the stakes for framing physiogmy - a practice with a long history - as a science in the nineteenth century. By showing how physiogmy gave people permission to judge others, Pearl holds up a mirror both to Victorian times and our own.
Sharrona Pearl is Assistant Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania.