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Rethinking the “One-Sex” Body: Sex, Gender, and Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

The Lionel Trilling Seminar

dateNovember 24, 2014 timeMonday, 6:15pm EST location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University

Thomas Laqueur’s important book, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), is almost twenty-five years old, and his governing narrative, that the late eighteenth century saw a shift from a “one-sex” to a “two-sex” body in Western society, has gained broad acceptance among modern historians and scholars in literary and cultural studies. At the same time, it has come under increasing attack by historians of ancient, medieval, and early modern law and medicine. “Rethinking the ‘One-Sex’ Body” brings together this new research to ask if Laqueur is wrong, and, if so, how he’s wrong and what difference it makes.

Katharine Park is Samuel Zemurray, Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. Park’s research and teaching focuses on the history of science and medicine in medieval and early modern Europe, with special attention to gender, sexuality, and the history of the body. Her work stresses the interconnection of knowledge and practice and the importance of relating both to the social, institutional, and cultural contexts that produced them.

Joel Kaye, Professor of History at Barnard College, and Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University, will be the respondents.

Event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.