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Seeing is Believing: 19th c. American Gynecology and the Introduction of the Pelvic Exam | March SHC Noon Lecture

Seeing is Believing: 19th c. American Gynecology and the Introduction of the Pelvic Exam | March SHC Noon Lecture Online

Ever since the introduction of the pelvic exam as a gynecological procedure in the late nineteenth century, consumers and doctors have struggled to define the boundaries between preventive health and sexual impropriety. In this talk, Dr. Kline will investigate the theories and practices of gynecologists in the late 19th century regarding how to appropriately examine a female patient, drawing on medical correspondence and gynecology textbooks of the time period.  She argues that the pelvic exam is more than just a medical procedure; it is a window into a deeper, more meaningful set of questions about gender, medicine, and power. From gynecological research on enslaved women’s bodies to practice on anesthetized patients, the pelvic exam as we know it today carries the burden of its history.  By looking through that window, we can begin to understand why the pelvic exam remains both mysterious and contentious. 

Wendy Kline PhD is the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine at Purdue University since August of 2014. She is the author of several articles and three books that focus on controversies surrounding women’s reproductive health. She has been awarded two major fellowships for her current project on the use of psychedelics in psychiatric practice: a six-month British Academy Fellowship in Glasgow (June-December 2018) and a Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship at the University of Birmingham (Sept-December 2019.)

The lecture will take place Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at 12 PM EST on Zoom. This event is open to the public. Seating is limited and registration is required by Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 6 PM to reserve your seat and receive login information. 

To learn more information about the Noon Lectures, please visit waring.library.musc.edu, email waringhl@musc.edu, or call (843)792-2288.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
  Student History Club  

Registration is required. There are 81 seats available.

Event Organizer

Anna Schuldt

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