Bad History, doctors, gender, internet, midwives, museums and collections

Exhibiting our past: “This Vexed Question”

There's been a lot of interest online in a temporary exhibition which has recently opened at the Royal College of Physicians in London: "This Vexed Question: 500 years of women in medicine". I was disturbed by some of the media reports, in particular one in Culture Trip which started with the comment that the RCP was 'dissecting… Continue reading Exhibiting our past: “This Vexed Question”

Advertisements
Bad History, doctors, drugs, Hippocrates, menstruation, pregnancy, sex, womb

IUD or not IUD? Did the Hippocratics invent the first intrauterine device?

"Around 400 B.C., writers from the Hippocrates school discussed a contraceptive similar to the intrauterine device (IUD) of today. This particular apparatus was a hollow tube filled with mutton-fat..." Really??

Bad History, diseases, remedies, sex, virginity, vulva

Making a disease from a remedy: Trotula and vaginismus

  Here’s a particularly fine case of Bad History, showing that while it’s bad enough to modify an ancient text to make it into a precursor of a modern condition, it’s even worse to misread a remedy as a symptom in order to make a historical text do what you want it to do! Trotula… Continue reading Making a disease from a remedy: Trotula and vaginismus

menstruation

The history of menstruation

Julia Margaret Cameron’s Hypatia    Everything has a history: even menstruation. I managed to write an 80,000 word doctoral thesis on menstruation in classical Greece, which just goes to show that there's a story to be told there! I've shared a few of the weirder beliefs here. One of the questions I couldn’t answer in… Continue reading The history of menstruation