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1-2015 / Studie a eseje / Veronika Najmanová

“How to Live Naturally in Order to Reach High Age”

Gender in Medical Manuals of the Second Half of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Veronika Najmanová

Veronika Najmanová (*1987), is a PhD student at the Institute of History of the Faculty of Arts of the University Pardubice ,       Other contributions by the same author

The aim of this study is to briefly explore the possibility of using medical literature to study the history of gender and to present some preliminary conclusions resulting from gender analysis of a particular type of source, such as medical manuals. By ‘medical manuals’ we mean medical publications intended for the lay public. Their main purpose was to inform the public about the functioning of the human body, various ways of diagnosing particular diseases, healthy lifestyle, and appropriate nursing of ill persons. This contribution presents the outcome of analysis of a specific medical source, namely medical guides published in the Bohemian Lands between the second half of the nineteenth and the early decades of the twentieth centuries. Its aim was to answer the following questions: How do the authors of these medical manuals treat femininity and masculinity? What do these publications say about the status of physicians and medicine in general in society of the time? Are some of the diseases treated in the manuals associated with a particular gender? On a general level, the aim of the study is to analyse the way in which gender was conceptualised in the medical manuals.

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