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The Science of Woman

The Science of Woman
Gynaecology and Gender in England, 1800–1929


Part of Cambridge Studies in the History of Medicine

  • Date Published: July 1993
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521447959

£ 38.99

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About the Authors
  • Is women's destiny rooted in their biology? Since the end of the eighteenth century the science of gynaecology has legitimised the view that women are 'naturally' fitted for activities in the private sphere of the family. This book argues that the definition of femininity as propounded by gynaecological science is a cultural product of a wider, more political context.

    • First book on the social history of gynaecology
    •  A highly successful study on a hitherto unexplored subject, now out in paperback
    • Multidisciplinary interest - history of medicine, sociology, women's studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Moscucci has highlighted some critical debates concerning women's bodies and medical practice. She … draws on a wide range of material and disciplines to give a focused and coherent argument which provides a stimulating and valuable discussion for anyone interested in gender, the history of medicine and cultural attitudes.' Gender and History

    '[This] temperate but powerful study is a model instance of the successful integration of medical and women's history.' Roy Porter, Medical History

    'The Science of Woman deserves to be read by anyone interested in the history of professionalization and the emergence of specialisms as well as of sexuality and gender.' Michael Bevan, Social History of Medicine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1993
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521447959
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.417kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Problem of Femininity:
    1. Woman's sexuality and population concerns
    2. Woman's place in nature
    3. Nature and the environment
    4. A theory of femininity
    5. Physiology and social roles
    Part II. Men-Midwives and Medicine: The Origins of a Profession:
    6. Midwives and accoucheurs
    7. The 'obstetric revolution' and eighteenth-century medical politics
    8. The nineteenth century: obstetrics, gynaecology and general practice
    9. Educated accoucheurs
    Part III. The Rise of the Women's Hospitals:
    10. Hospitals, specialists and nineteenth-century medicine
    11. The first women's hospital
    12. A moral institution
    13. The Chelsea Hospital for Women
    Part IV. Woman and her diseases:
    14. The pathology of femininity
    15. Surgical analysis
    16. Penetrating private parts: the 'speculum question'
    17. Precept and practice
    Part V. The 'Unsexing' of Women:
    18. Early controversies
    19. A question of values
    20. Pathological pregnancies
    21. The triumph of ovariotomy
    22. The Imlach affair
    Part VI. From the British Gynaecological Society to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:
    23. The 'handcuffed obstetrician'
    24. The Meadows incident
    25. A British gynaecological society
    26. A college of obstetricians and gynaecologists
    27. Restructuring the profession

  • Author

    Ornella Moscucci

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