Many Women, Many Words’: Sources for the History of Early Modern Reproduction

28 February 2011, 17:00 - 18:30

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge

Dr Laura Gowing (History, King’s College, London)

Discussant:
Dr Mary Fissell (Institute for the History of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University)

Chair:
Sarah Kelly (History, University of Cambridge)

Evening Seminar


Abstract

The period 1500-1700 saw a ferment of discussion about reproduction.  A world away from learned books, popular ideas about the female body  can be traced across the realms of vernacular discourse.  In cheap  print, images and stories made the female body a mirror of political and religious crises. On the streets, in  birthing rooms, and in the courts, women's knowledge was asserted and debated. Each of these sources tells a different tale; we want to discuss we might build bridges between them, and what historians can learn from their differences and commonalties about the place of reproduction in  the past.

 

Laura Gowing’s research is concerned primarily with the history of women, gender and sexuality in early modern England, and more broadly with early modern social and cultural history. Her most recent publication, Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in Seventeenth-century England (Yale, 2003) was awarded the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize by the American Historical Association. She is currently Lecturer at King's College, University of London.

Mary Fissell is a professor at the Institute for the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, specialising in 17th and 18th-century popular medicine in Europe. Her most recent book is Vernacular Bodies: The Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2004). Dr Fissell's current research concerns Aristotle's Masterpiece, the early modern best-selling book on sex and reproduction.

Sarah Kelly is a third-year PhD candidate in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge. Her research concerns 18th-century Anglo-Jewish midwifery and obstetrics. She currently teaches the history of early modern medicine in the department of History and Philosophy of Science.

 

 

 Open to all.  No registration required.

Part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Reproduction Forum seminar series.
For more information about CIRF, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.