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HIS102Y1 Lecture Notes - Feminist Technoscience, Thomas W. Laqueur, Lovesickness

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Dr.Carla Hustak

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HIS245Y-1Y – Lecture 3
Constructing Medical ‘Truths’ of Women’s Bodies:
Hotter Men, Colder Women, and the One-Sex Model
-Constructing Gender, Scientific ‘Truth’, and the Practice of Medicine
-Epistemology and the Body, Feminist Science Studies and the ‘Real’
1) Medical ‘Truths’ reinforce gender power relations, the sexed body as constructed
2) Effects of Medical ‘Truths’ on gendered experience of the body
3)Medical Practice and the Female Body, the Social Context of how Medical ‘Truths’ shape
historically specific societies
I. The Balanced Humoral Economy: Gendering Medicine, Creating the Sexed Body
1) Greek Philosophical Tradition, Hippocrates and Aristotle
2) Galenic Medicine
-Men: drier, hotter, effect of heat on sexual physiology, external sexual organs
-Women: colder, wetter, effect of lack of heat on sexual physiology, internal sexual organs
-Thomas Laqueur and the One-Sex Model
Ancient Greek medical texts:
-Plato: wandering womb, the Timaeus, sexual physiology explained in terms of marrow, semen,
blood, brain, and vital soul
-gendered meanings of sexual desire: women tied to reproduction
-identification of women with womb, “hystere”
- Hippocrates: health as balance, foetus (right side vs. left side) , pangenesis, seed
-Hippocrates: female health as focused on menstruation and uterus
-medical treatments: purgation, re-positioning uterus, manipulating fluids
Galenic Medicine
-Greek physician, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey)
-historian Joan Cadden, eclecticism of ideas
-Galen’s On Seed, two seed theory
-sexual Anatomy, sexual desire located in liver, brain, testes, vessels
-female semen seen as inferior
-humoral theory: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile
Medieval Christianity and Medicine
-Constantine the African, 11th century monk, On Coitus and On Human Nature
-sexual Physiology: merging of fluids, sexual desire: kidneys vs. navel
Hildegard of Bingen on Physiology and Procreation:
-Genesis and the Book of Compound Medicine, Adam and Eve
-Man/active, woman/passive (‘vessel’), pregnancy & desire
-balance of sexual desires, the sin of lust and illness, the prostitute’s body
Medical Views on Managing Humors through Purgation
- menstruation as beneficial vs. contamination: Hildegard and Isidore of Seville
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