Katharine Park (Harvard University), The Myth of the 'One-Sex Body'


  • Data: 30 novembre 2021 dalle 16:00 alle 18:00

  • Luogo: In presenza in Aula Mondolfo (Via Zamboni 38) / in remoto viaTeams

  • Modalità d'accesso: Ingresso libero fino ad esaurimento dei posti disponibili

In Making Sex (1990), Thomas Laqueur argued for a dramatic shift in Western medical understanding of sex difference in the years around 1800, claiming that before then, women were understood as imperfect men, their genitals trapped inside their bodies, as described in Galen’s On the Use of Parts. Laqueur both overemphasized the importance of genital anatomy in medical accounts of sex difference and seriously mistook its history.

The period before 1800 was marked by the co-existence of competing traditions relating to genital anatomy and function, in which Arabic medical compendia, largely ignored by Laqueur, played an important role. Furthermore, Laqueur’s “one-sex” body was largely specific to the surgical tradition; first fully elaborated by Berengario of Carpi in a work from 1521, it was moribund in learned European medicine by 1600, though it continued to flourish for several decades in vernacular literature, medical and non-medical.