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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Given the comparatively slow pace of human evolution, the body, as a biological entity, may be taken more or less as a historical constant during the past 1500 years. But every interaction with that body was mediated by culture, and thus gender analysis is a driving force in the expanding field of the history of health. This essay looks at how changing expectations of gender and knowledge shaped medical and surgical interventions in three circumstances: pregnancy; childbirth emergencies; and the care of intersexed persons. The field of the history of health is still rapidly expanding, and the perspectives of gender analysis are a major part of what is driving that expansion forward.

Keywords: medicine, healthcare, midwifery, obstetrics, fertility, childbirth, Caesarean section, surgery, hermaphrodites, eunuchs, Roman law, literacy

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