Category Archives: Announcements

Interesting paper ‘Reviewing the Womb’

In the current issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Dunja Begovi, Elizabeth Chloe Romanis and Alexandra Mullock suggest in an open access article ‘Reviewing the womb‘ that women’s reproductive freedom is under threat in many ways as the uterus becomes more accessible and amenable to medical management. It discusses some of the associated ethical and legal dangers which have emerged from developments in reproductive technology, and reflects on the historical notions of woman as the (sometimes incompetent) vessel for the nurturing of the male seed, where the focus lies on the fruit of the womb, on the fetus rather than the mother.

Mary Toft in eighteenth-century England…

Whether or not you have read The Imposteress Rabbit Breeder, reviewed for De Partu by Dr Ashleigh Blackwood, you may enjoy listening to an interview with the author, Professor Karen Harvey, who asks why on earth would a woman wish to pretend to give birth to rabbits…how could it be true …and why would contemporary medical men appear to believe this and investigate it?
The interview is from an ‘History Extra’ podcast for BBC History Magazine.

New book reviews

Reviews of the following titles are now available on the Book Reviews page:

Lara Freidenfels (2020)
The myth of the perfect pregnancy: A history of miscarriage in America

Anja Katharina Peters (2020)
Nanna Conti (1881-1951): Eine Biographie der Reichshebammenführerin
[English abstract]

Karen Harvey (2020)
The Imposteress Rabbit Breeder: Mary Toft and Eighteenth-Century England

Karen Hearn (2020)
Portraying Pregnancy: from Holbein to Social Media

History of childbirth event at the Foundling Museum – POSTPONED

We are very sorry indeed, but in view of the very sensible concerns of a number of delegates and the rapidly evolving public health warnings about the coronavirus, we have this morning taken the decision to postpone our study day at the Foundling Museum in London scheduled for Saturday March 14th.  We’re aware that our delegates include quite a number of people who have care responsibilities for the more vulnerable, and we wish to avoid exposing them to any additional risk at this time. We hope you will understand this decision – which we’ve taken with much regret – in these exceptional circumstances. We are currently firming up with the Foundling Museum an alternative Saturday date – on this same theme and in a similar format (with their summer exhibition to visit) – a little later in 2020, hoping the coronavirus outbreak will then be safely behind us.

Valerie and Janette

Valerie Worth (Mellon-TORCH KE Fellow, Oxford University)
Janette Allotey (Chair of de Partu)

Book review needed

Hearn, Karen (2020) Portraying Pregnancy: from Holbein to Social Media

We are seeking from among our membership a reviewer for this book, which is being published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the Foundling Museum in London. The review will be published on the websites both of De Partu and of the British Society for the History of Medicine. Please email Alison Nuttall if you are interested: alison_m_nuttall@hotmail.com.

Hearn, Karen (2020). Portraying Pregnancy: from Holbein to Social Media
London: Paul Holberton Publishing
Paperback, 242 x 168 mm
144 pages, 60 illustrations 
ISBN: 978-1-911300-80-9

Wellcome Collection: Exploring Research Seminar Series, Spring 2020

Library Viewing Room, 2nd Floor, Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London

For all events, doors open at 17.15, seminars start promptly at 17.30

For all enquiries, email: ResearchDevelopmentTeam@wellcome.ac.uk

For more details of events, see: https://wellcomecollection.org/event-series

Tuesday 3rd March 2020:

Title: Surrogacy as reproductive labour

Speaker: Dr Sigrid Vertommen is a research fellow at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University, and an affiliated scholar at the Sociology of Reproduction Research Group of the University of Cambridge.

Talk: Dr Vertommen will explore the porous boundaries between gift-commodity, motherhood-work, altruism-profit in the fertility industry. 

Tuesday 17th March 2020:

Title: ‘Do NOT Flush Feminine Waste’: The History of the UK Sanitary Bin’ 

Speaker: Dr Camilla Mørk Røstvik is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews.

Talk: Dr Røstvik will examine the incinerators that led to calls for better menstrual waste management in the 1940s, the growth of the bin cleaning system in the 1960s, and the industry’s intersection with environmental and menstrual activism in the late-twentieth century.

March 14th 2020: History of childbirth event at the Foundling Museum, London

This fantastic event takes place from 10am until 4pm and includes free entry to the Museum, free entry to the ‘Portraying Pregnancy …’ exhibition and a presentation by its curator Professor Karen Hearn, who is the author of an accompanying book, plus a programme of lectures. Lunch and refreshments are provided.

Note to lecturers and students: a limited number of student places are available at a reduced cost.

Teaching anatomy from classical to modern times: SSHM

Download booking form

This two day symposium is being organised by the Scottish Society
of the History of Medicine, in association with the British Society for
the History of Medicine and the History Society of the Royal Society
of Medicine. The aim is to explore the development of anatomy
teaching from the earliest times to the present day.

Presentations will cover the ways in which anatomical knowledge has
been acquired, portrayed and taught. We will examine the evolution
of techniques used in the teaching of anatomy through the ages and
its relevance not only to surgery and medicine, but also to art and
society in general.

The programme includes keynote lectures, invited speakers and short
papers. We welcome short papers from a range of perspectives
including historical, social, cultural and modern innovations.

IHR History Day 2019: 19th November

Discover research collections at this free one-day event designed for history students, researchers and writers, run by the Institute of Historical Research:

  • Plan your next research project
  • Meet specialist librarians & archivists
  • Hear from historical organisations
  • Talk to publishers
  • Build your network

The day includes a history fair showcasing over 50 libraries, archives and other historical organisations, offering one on-one advice on your research.

Book now at www.history.ac.uk/historyday

19 November 2019, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Beveridge Hall, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Contact ihr.events@sas.ac.uk
020 7862 8740

When was reproduction invented? A debate in the Cambridge Festival of Ideas…

Oocyte image

From abortion to climate crisis, intimate experiences to planetary policy, reproduction presents urgent challenges today. This debate invites participants to stand back and take a long view.
The panellists, including the editors of the field-defining synthesis, Reproduction: Antiquity to the Present Day (Cambridge, 2018), will lead a discussion of when, how and for what purposes reproduction as we know it was made.
At one extreme, we could give reproduction a history that goes back to the evolution of life on earth. At the other, we might highlight the major changes of the decades after World War II, such as the pill and in vitro fertilization. But strong cases can be made for periods in between—for ancient Greek philosophers, medieval priests, Enlightenment savants and Malthusian couples—and this event will also consider their claims.

Panel: Rebecca Flemming, Susan Golombok, Nick Hopwood and Lauren Kassell
Chair: Jim Secord
Thursday 17 October: 6:00pm–7:30pm
St John’s College Fisher Building, St John’s Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP
Entry is free, but you have to book.