Titel: Birthing the Nation: Sex, Science, and the Conception of Eighteenth-Century Britons
Autor/en: Lisa Forman Cody
OXFORD UNIV PR
April 2005 - gebunden - 353 Seiten
How could the professional triumph of man-midwifery and contemporary tales of pregnant men, rabbit-breeding mothers, and meddling midwives in eighteenth-century Britain help construct the emergence of modern corporate and individual identities? By uncovering long-lost tales and artefacts about
sexuality, birth, and popular culture, Lisa Forman Cody argues that Enlightenment Britons understood themselves and their relationship to others through their experiences and beliefs about the reproductive body. Birthing the Nation traces two intertwined narratives that shaped eighteenth-century
British life: the development of the modern British nation, and the emergence of the male expert as the pre-eminent authority over matters of sexual behaviour, reproduction, and childbirth. By taking seriously contemporary caricatures, jokes, and rumours that used gender, birth, and family to make
claims about religious, ethnic and national identity, Cody illuminates an entirely new view of the eighteenth-century public sphere as focused on the bodily and the bizarre.
In a monarchy arbitrated by its official religion, regulation of reproduction and childbirth was vital to the very stability of British political authority and the coherence of British culture, challenged as it was by Catholicism, the French Revolution, and social change. In the late seventeenth
century, the English feared the power of female midwives to control the destiny of the royal family, yet men-midwives and male experts had hardly proved their superiority to manage the successful birth of children. By the mid-eighteenth century, however, male midwives became experts over the
domestic world of pregnancy andchildbirth, largely replacing female midwives among the middling and elite families. Cody suggests that these new professionals provided a new model for masculine comportment and emergent intimate relationships within the middle-class and elite home.
Most surprisingly, Cody has
1. Introduction; 2. Mothers, Midwives, and Mysteries; 3. Abortions, Witches, and Catholics: Reproduction and Revolution; 4. 'Is not your Lordship with child too?': Pregnant Fathers and Fathers of Science; 5. Imagining Mothers; 6. Breeding Scottish Obstetrics in Doctor Smellie's London; 7. Revolutionary Bodies in the Britain of George III; 8. Sex, Science, and Race; 9. The State Takes Charge: Conceived, Consummated, and Counted; 10. Epilogue
Cody's most important achievement is to show that birth is a tool for historical analysis, a tool which brings to light struggles over issues as key as gender relations, national identity, racism and the growth of the modern state. Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Book Prize Committee Cody straddles some of the most significant and distinctive themes of the long eighteenth century ... [she] teases out a novel interpretation of a well-rehearsed medical development, and presents it in a way which cannot help but have impact on the reader. Alysa Levene, Reviews in History