The accomplishments of pioneering doctors such as John Peter Mettauer, James Marion Sims, and Nathan Bozeman are well documented. It is also no secret that these nineteenth-century gynecologists performed experimental caesarean sections, ovariotomies, and obstetric fistula repairs primarily on poor and powerless women. Medical Bondage breaks new ground by exploring how and why physicians denied these women their full humanity yet valued them as “medical superbodies” highly suited for medical experimentation.
In Medical Bondage, Cooper Owens examines a wide range of scientific literature and less formal communications in which gynecologists created and disseminated medical fictions about their patients, such as their belief that black enslaved women could withstand pain better than white “ladies.” Even as they were advancing medicine, these doctors were legitimizing, for decades to come, groundless theories related to whiteness and blackness, men and women, and the inferiority of other races or nationalities.
Johns Hopkins University Center for Africana Studies: Unpacking Hateful Things & Contemporary Practices
Saturday, September 22, 1pm
This race conversation will trace the legacy of Jim Crow as revealed in objects used to dehumanize African Americans and will then connect this legacy to contemporary circumstances in Baltimore and beyond. This event is in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Africana Studies.
In conjunction with the Jim Crow Black Memorabilia exhibition, Hateful Things.