1 Apr 2008 4:00pm - 5:30pm Seminar Room 1, Department of History and Philosophy of Science,


Speaker: Dr Alice Domurat Dreger (Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University)

All welcome! No registration required.  (Tea and biscuits available from 3.30pm)


For over fifty years, boys born with small penises have been subject to “normalizing” medical procedures, including pediatric sex changes. Conjoined twins are separated, and short children injected with growth hormone, for a similar reason: a belief that one must fit social norms to survive. At first glance, these procedures on “abnormal” children may seem fundamentally different from the autonomous choice of a “normal” adult woman to increase her bust size for cosmetic reasons. But this talk explores what all these normalizing procedures have in common, and why all are a potential threat to medicine, science, and democracy.


Alice Domurat Dreger is Associate Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics, as well as a medical humanist, patient advocate and activist. Her interests are broadly in the history and philosophy or medicine and anatomy, with a particular emphasis on normalizing medical technologies.

Alice is dedicated to  improving the medical and social treatment of people born with socially-challenging bodies, including people with intersex, conjoinment, dwarfism, and cleft lip; and works with affected adults, parents, and clinicians to this end. Her work is motivated by the central question ‘Why not change minds instead of bodies?’. Her books include: Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex (now in its sixth printing with Harvard University Press, 1998), and One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal (Harvard University Press, 2004). You can find out more about her and her work from her website: www.alicedreger.com


CIRF aims to provide a forum in which researchers from different disciplines and backgrounds can come together to communicate and develop new ideas and form collaborations around a common interest in reproduction.


All welcome! No registration required.  (Tea and biscuits available from 3.30pm)


The seminar will be followed by a cheap pay-as-you-go dinner. If you would like to join us, please email repro@hermes.cam.ac.uk 




Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk