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Book description

From contraception to cloning and pregnancy to populations, reproduction presents urgent challenges today. This field-defining history synthesizes a vast amount of scholarship to take the long view. Spanning from antiquity to the present day, the book focuses on the Mediterranean, western Europe, North America and their empires. It combines history of science, technology and medicine with social, cultural and demographic accounts. Ranging from the most intimate experiences to planetary policy, it tells new stories and revises received ideas. An international team of scholars asks how modern 'reproduction' - an abstract process of perpetuating living organisms - replaced the old 'generation' - the active making of humans and beasts, plants and even minerals. Striking illustrations invite readers to explore artefacts, from an ancient Egyptian fertility figurine to the announcement of the first test-tube baby. Authoritative and accessible, Reproduction offers students and non-specialists an essential starting point and sets fresh agendas for research.


‘A fascinating work of breath taking ambition. It is certain to become a key point of reference for scholars working in a wide range of disciplines.'

Sally Sheldon, FAcSS - University of Kent

'This ambitious and extraordinarily well-executed volume offers new and rich insights into the history of reproduction from the ancient world to the modern period. Drawing on the best scholarship, it provides a compendium, a stimulating reframing of the field, and a state-of-the-art guide to further research.'

Hilary Marland - University of Warwick

‘This is the most ambitious and comprehensive treatise on reproduction that has ever been attempted within the compass of a single volume. It is challenging to think of a perspective that has not been addressed. The impressive range of contributions and illustrations should guarantee the book a very wide appeal.'

Sir Richard Gardner, FRS - Emeritus Royal Society Research Professor

‘A milestone in reproduction studies, this magnum opus will be invaluable to scholars from multiple disciplines as both resource and inspiration for ambitious projects and innovative approaches. At once dense and refreshing, it mobilizes efforts of superb scholars to bring us up-to-date historically, transnationally and transculturally, powerfully demonstrating the centrality of reproduction in human life.'

Adele E. Clarke - Professor Emerita of Sociology and History of Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco

'This remarkably wide-ranging and lavishly illustrated history takes in everything from 'phallic fertility in the Ancient Near East and Egypt' and 'women and doctors in Ancient Greece' to population in an era of climate change, artificial fertilisation and globalisation. Among countless other topics, the dozens of contributors explore astrological medicine; our developing understanding of both 'generation' and 'reproduction'; ignorance and infertility; hormones, prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy testing with frogs; even Aristotle’s strange theory that hyenas are hermaphrodite. The result is a stunning and scholarly overview of one of the central aspects of human life.'

Source: Times Higher Education

'… [a] studious, insightful brainstorm of research and revelation into an often sensitive topic. Highly recommended, especially for college and university library World History and Social Issues collections.'

Source: Library Bookwatch

'It is hard to do justice to a book of such size, complexity and range … In this project, an international group of scholars has combined to produce what has turned into an authoritative, impressive volume.'

Anne Crowther Source: Times Literary Supplement

'By looking at the history of generation and reproduction across such a large chronological scale, such a large thematic scope (from egg to population), and in such a variety of geographical spaces, Reproduction allows us to better understand the complexity of our current world and opens up new ways of thinking about sexuality and ways of procreating … It also equips us intellectually to reflect on current issues surrounding reproduction and to develop a critical attitude toward contemporary developments in this domain. Moreover, Reproduction provides us with an excellent pedagogical tool, which is likely to help us to renew and refresh our teaching in the history of the life sciences and medicine. No doubt, this book constitutes a large and rich source of texts that will be relevant to teach and trigger discussions during seminar readings.'

Marion Thomas Source: H-Net

'The scholarship throughout is at the highest level, the writing is engaging and informative, and the volume is lavishly illustrated … As a single-volume history of reproduction, Reproduction could not be better. It is sure to become a valuable resource for anyone engaged with the history of sexuality.'

Ian Frederick Moulton Source: Journal of the History of Sexuality

‘While illustrations are found throughout the book, the inclusion of exhibits in Reproduction is one of its greatest strengths … Reproduction … include[s] … a remarkable range of subjects from an impressive group of scholars. The editors have deftly organized this material, which ranges over such a long timeframe, into a coherent whole …’

R. Allen Shotwell Source: Early Science and Medicine

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Page 1 of 4

  • 1 - Reproduction in History
    pp 3-18

Page 1 of 4


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