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Book Title: Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex|
The author of the book: Alice Domurat Dreger
Edition: Harvard University Press
Date of issue: May 20th 1998
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 751 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.4
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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.
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Read information about the authorAlice Dreger is a Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University.
"In a phrase, I do social justice work in medicine and science. I do that through my research, writing, speaking, and advocacy. . . Much of my professional energies has gone to using history to improve the medical and social treatment of people born with norm-challenging bodies, including people with atypical sex (intersex and disorders of sex development), conjoinment, dwarfism, and cleft lip. The question that motivates many of my projects is this: Why not change minds instead of bodies?"
--from the author's website
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