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Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Punctuated with remarkable case studies, this book explores extraordinary encounters between hermaphrodites--people born with "ambiguous" sexual anatomy--and the medical and scientific professionals who grappled with them. Alice Dreger focuses on events in France and Britain in the late nineteenth century, a moment of great tension for questions of sex roles. While feminists, homosexuals, and anthropological explorers openly questioned the natures and purposes of the two sexes, anatomical hermaphrodites suggested a deeper question: just how many human sexes are there? Ultimately hermaphrodites led doctors and scientists to another surprisingly difficult question: what is sex, really?

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex takes us inside the doctors' chambers to see how and why medical and scientific men constructed sex, gender, and sexuality as they did, and especially how the material conformation of hermaphroditic bodies--when combined with social exigencies--forced peculiar constructions. Throughout the book Dreger indicates how this history can help us to understand present-day conceptualizations of sex, gender, and sexuality. This leads to an epilogue, where the author discusses and questions the protocols employed today in the treatment of intersexuals (people born hermaphroditic). Given the history she has recounted, should these protocols be reconsidered and revised?

A meticulously researched account of a fascinating problem in the history of medicine, this book will compel the attention of historians, physicians, medical ethicists, intersexuals themselves, and anyone interested in the meanings and foundations of sexual identity.

Synopsis:

Punctuated with remarkable case studies, this book explores extraordinary encounters between hermaphrodites--people born with "ambiguous" sexual anatomy--and the medical and scientific professionals who grappled with them in late 19th-century France and England. Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex takes us inside the doctors' chambers to see how and why medical and scientific men constructed sex, gender, and sexuality as they did.

Synopsis:

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex takes us inside the doctors' chambers to see how and why medical and scientific men construed sex, gender, and sexuality as they did, and especially how the material conformation of hermaphroditic bodies - when combined with social exigencies - forced peculiar constructions. Throughout the book Dreger indicates how this history can help us to understand present-day conceptualizations of sex, gender, and sexuality. In an epilogue, she discusses and questions the protocols employed today in the treatment of intersexuals (people born hermaphroditic). Given the history recounted, should these protocols be reconsidered and revised?

About the Author

Alice Domurat Dreger is Visiting Associate Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Director of Medical Education at the Intersex Society of North America.

Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; Intersex Society of North America

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue: But My Good Woman, You Are a Man!
  • Doubtful Sex
  • Doubtful Status
  • In Search of the Veritable Vulva
  • Hermaphrodites in Love
  • The Age of Gonads
  • Epilogue: Categorical Imperatives
  • Notes
  • Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674001893
Author:
Dreger, Alice Domurat
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Subject:
History
Subject:
Human Sexuality
Subject:
Sex
Subject:
Gender Studies
Subject:
Hermaphroditism
Subject:
Health and Medicine-History of Medicine
Subject:
History, Modern -- 19th century.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
no. 29
Publication Date:
March 2000
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 halftones
Pages:
268
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 17 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Child Psychology
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Transgender

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex New Trade Paper
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$37.95 In Stock
Product details 268 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674001893 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Punctuated with remarkable case studies, this book explores extraordinary encounters between hermaphrodites--people born with "ambiguous" sexual anatomy--and the medical and scientific professionals who grappled with them in late 19th-century France and England. Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex takes us inside the doctors' chambers to see how and why medical and scientific men constructed sex, gender, and sexuality as they did.
"Synopsis" by , Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex takes us inside the doctors' chambers to see how and why medical and scientific men construed sex, gender, and sexuality as they did, and especially how the material conformation of hermaphroditic bodies - when combined with social exigencies - forced peculiar constructions. Throughout the book Dreger indicates how this history can help us to understand present-day conceptualizations of sex, gender, and sexuality. In an epilogue, she discusses and questions the protocols employed today in the treatment of intersexuals (people born hermaphroditic). Given the history recounted, should these protocols be reconsidered and revised?
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