Bodies of Knowledge: Experience, Narrative and Gender in Early Modern French Medicine
My dissertation aims to reconstruct a genealogy of medical writing in the early modern period that foregrounds experiential knowledge and makes room for women as well as sick and non-normative bodies. In literary studies, it traces the trajectory of first-person narratives in medical writings and treatises as they move from iterations of self-care to demonstrations of self-fashioning. It also expands our understanding of early modern autobiographical writing beyond the borders of the literary canon by unearthing new archives of the self in medical discourse. In medical humanities, it refreshes the perspective on the establishment of medical authority by foregrounding rhetorical negotiations in rarely explored archives. In gender studies, it showcases women’s efforts to protect and maintain the uniqueness of fundamental practices such as touching and caring for pain. By paying close attention to a plurality of representations of experience-based medical knowledge, this project demonstrates the co-existence of various ethics of medicine and underlines how emerging male-midwives endeavored to appropriate traditionally female practices in order to rewrite them as male in their dominant discourse on the body.
European history; Literature; Autobiography; Childbirth; Early Modern; Medical; Rhetoric; French literature; Gender studies
Long, Kathleen P.
Vallois, Marie-Claire; Mann, Jenny C
Ph. D., Romance Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
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