Hermaphroditism, Medical Science and Sexual Identity in Spain, 1850 – 1960

Hermaphroditism, Medical Science and Sexual Identity in Spain, 1850 – 1960

Richard Cleminson
Francisco Vázquez García
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Hermaphroditism, Medical Science and Sexual Identity in Spain, 1850 – 1960
    Book Description:

    This is the first book in English to analyse the medical category of ‘hermaphroditism’ in Spain over the period 1850-1960. It attempts to show how the relationship between the male and female body, biological ‘sex’, gender and sexuality constantly changed in the light of emerging medical, legal and social influences.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2279-6
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Editors’ Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)

    Over recent decades the traditional ‘languages and literatures’ model in Spanish departments in universities in the United Kingdom has been superceded by a contextual, interdisciplinary and ‘area studies’ approach to the study of the culture, history, society and politics of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds – categories which extend far beyond the confines of the Iberian Peninsula, not only in Latin America but also to Spanish-speaking and Lusophone Africa.

    In response to these dynamic trends in research priorities and curriculum development, this series is designed to present both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research within the general field of Iberian and Latin American...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Chapter 1 Introduction: Male, Female or In-Between? Towards a History of the Science of Hermaphroditism’ in Spain, 1850–1960
    (pp. 1-28)

    At least since Ovid’s account in book 4 of hisMetamorphoses, in which the gods Mercury and Venus, embodiments of ideal manhood and womanhood respectively, had a son named Hermaphroditus, hermaphroditism, or the apparent mixing of the sexes, has been a subject of fascination for the West.¹ Hermaphroditus was, like his parents Hermes and Aphrodite in their Greek incarnations, a perfect example of humankind. His exemplary male physique, however, was to be transformed during his encounter with the nymph Salmacis who requested that the gods unite her forever to the boy. Hermaphroditus’ encounter with Salmacis resulted in Hermaphrodite, a body...

  6. Chapter 2 From Sex as Social Status to Biological Sex
    (pp. 29-77)

    Since Freud we have known that it is the subconscious that makes history. For this reason, just as the psychoanalyst must delve into personality conflicts, the historian is obliged to sift through the tacit truths that make up a culture in order to locate the ‘lapsus’ that functions as a revealing symptom.¹ This is what happens when the question of personal identity is examined and, more specifically, when sexual identity is examined in societies of highmodernity. The distinction between men and women, understood as a given in the daily life of theancien régime, only became problematic when cracks and...

  7. Chapter 3 Between Diagnoses: Hermaphroditism, Hypospadias and Pseudo-hermaphroditism, 1870–1905
    (pp. 78-121)

    In 1847 the Mallorca-born Dean of the Paris Faculty of Medicine, Mateo Orfila, wrote that, contrary to the received general opinion, hermaphroditism only existed in the inferior orders of plants and animals and that in reference to human beings ‘deberia pues borrarse del lenguage médico la palabrahermafrodismo’ (the wordhermaphrodismshould be expunged from the medical lexicon).¹ Orfila’s remarks constituted a derivation from the ongoing nineteenth-century process of disenchantment with the figure of the hermaphrodite and his or her slow elimination as a real human possibility, to be replaced, as we have seen in the last chapter, by a...

  8. Chapter 4 Gonads, Hormones and Marañón’s Theory of Intersexuality, 1905–1930
    (pp. 122-178)

    In 1959, at the chronological limits of this study, Gregorio Marañón, the ‘Spanish Darwin’¹ who espoused

    ‘doctrinas en pro de la feminidad y varonía correctas’ (doctrines in favour of correct femininity and masculinity),² presented a case of female homosexuality with male chromosomal sex in the bulletin of the Institute of Pathological Medicine.³ This case was presented in a similar way to those of ‘hermaphrodites’ earlier in the century. ‘Magdalena S.’ was 35 years old, was single, had been born in Seville and was currently employed as a shop-worker in Madrid. Three cousins, like her, were ‘amenorreicas’ (suffered from amenorrhoea).⁴ There...

  9. Chapter 5 From True Sex to Sex as Simulacrum
    (pp. 179-223)

    Over the period 1930– 1970 Spanish medical thought would undergo a number of crucial changes with respect to notions of sexual identity. These changes amounted to the installation of a new ‘truth regime’ with regards to sexuality during this period. From the period of enlightened despotism through to the liberal revolutions of the nineteenth century, the medico-legal profession had consolidated its idea of sexual dimorphism and had attempted to fix clear criteria for the classification of cases of doubtful sex or apparent hermaphroditism.

    Going beyond the markers of male or female sex provided by custom and behaviour, forensic doctors searched...

  10. Chapter 6 Conclusions
    (pp. 224-240)

    The preceding chapters, admittedly with significant chronological gaps, have traced the evolution of scientific discourse on the hermaphrodite in Spain from 1560 to 1960. In order to do so, we have applied the insights of authors such as Lynda Birke, Alice D. Dreger, Nelly Oudshoorn and Anne Fausto-Sterling in an attempt to transcend any conceptual dichotomies between sex and gender, an issue recently addressed by feminist accounts.

    Scientific discourse on biological sex over the time period analysed here has been traced with reference to the changing history of medical technologies – a pragmatist perspective has been adopted here¹ – and in the...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-264)
  12. Index
    (pp. 265-270)