birth, dissection, midwives, museums and collections, womb

The skull inside the doll…

Webster was much possessed by death And saw the skull beneath the skin... (T.S. Eliot, Whispers of Immortality) I was very excited when the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (@RCPEHeritage) tweeted pictures today illustrating that they have been ‘X-raying two of our circa 18thc midwifery manikins (also known as ‘phantoms’) – to discover that… Continue reading The skull inside the doll…

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Bad History, birth, dissection, doctors

The internet for historians?

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter as a way of asking academic questions and being pointed to research I didn't know existed, last week I was able to read Tim Hitchcock's superb 2013 article "Confronting the digital: or how academic history writing lost the plot". This is the first piece I've read which addresses in detail,… Continue reading The internet for historians?

beards, birth, death, doctors, Hippocrates, love, menstruation, pregnancy, womb

Gendered flesh, prolapse and sex change: the case of Phaethousa

‘Her body was masculinized (τό τε σῶμα ἠνδρώθη)’. This is one aspect of the description of Phaethousa of Abdera, who features in one of the Hippocratic ‘case histories’ from probably the fourth century BC. When her husband leaves, or goes into exile, this previously fecund woman stops menstruating and experiences a range of symptoms, including… Continue reading Gendered flesh, prolapse and sex change: the case of Phaethousa