From Siam To The South, A New Take on Conjoined Twins Chang And Eng Bunker

Jan 20, 2015

A new book explores the racial and cultural dynamics of the life and work of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker.
Credit Wikimedia Commons


Conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker toured the world in the mid 1800s, putting their bodies on exhibit for a wide array of audiences.

They eventually settled in rural North Carolina, became slave owners, and fathered 21 children, but they were never able to escape the public eye. While many accounts of their lives focus on their disability and exhibitions, scholar Joe Orser wanted to explore what their story tells us about the changing racial and cultural landscape of 19th-century America. 

Host Frank Stasio talks to Joe Orser, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, about his new book The Lives of Chang and Eng: Siam’s Twins in Nineteenth-Century America (UNC Press/2014).