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

Image of Chang and Eng Bunker
Wikimedia Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year.  

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 book "The Lives of Change and Eng: Siam's Twins in Nineteenth-Century America" (UNC Press/2014).

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.