Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex
Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Medical - 284 pages
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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ambiguous anatomy Anne Fausto-Sterling appearance Barbin Blacker and Lawrence Blair Bell body breasts British Medical Bulletin Cas d'hermaphrodisme Cas de pseudo-hermaphrodisme Chapter Cheryl Chase child chromosomes clitoris culture Delore diagnosis doctors doubtful sex example external feminine gender genital genitalia Geoffroy girl glands gonadal definition gonads Grattery Guermonprez gynecologie hermaph heterosexual homosexual hormones human hermaphroditism hypospade hypospadias Ibid identity instance intersexuality inversion Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire labia Lawson Tait Living Specimen male and female malformations maphroditism masculine medical and scientific Medical Journal medicale medicine menstruation mistaken sex nature normal noted Obstetrical organs ovarian ovaries ovotestis Paris patient pelvis penis penises physicians practice practitioners print version problem Pseudo-hermaphrodite Report Revue roditism Samuel Pozzi Science seemed sex assignment sexual social Sophie Spurious Hermaphroditism story surgeon surgery surgical teratology testicles testicular theory tion tism tissue traits treatment true hermaphroditism true sex urethra uterus vagina vaginoplasty view this image woman women