Towards a Physiological Novel / Wednesday 18 May at 7pm / Speaker: Jesse Olszynko-Gryn
# 5. Mothercraft books and the physiology of reproduction.
Speaker: Jesse Olszynko-Gryn.
Wednesday 18th May at 7pm.
When The Motherhood Book (1934) instructed the “wise modern mother” to take herself to the doctor “at the earliest possible moment,” far more was at stake than the heath and wellbeing of the individual. Interwar anxieties about production and reproduction fuelled public debates about population decline, criminal abortion, and “the unfit”. In this politically charged climate, the future of the race and nation depended on the science of motherhood, or “mothercraft”. Meanwhile, physiologists developed new “diagnostic” tests for pregnancy. Instructional manuals were powerful technologies that reinforced old notions of pregnancy as disease, but also established new social relations between women, doctors, and the laboratory. By examining popular marriage manuals, home nursing handbooks, and medico-legal textbooks that were published in 1930s London, this talk will explore the changing image of the pregnant woman’s body in homes, clinics, and courtrooms.
Jesse Olszynko-Gryn is a PhD student in the Cambridge Department of University Department of History and Philosophy of Science. He is working on a history of pregnancy testing in twentieth-century Britain as part of “Generation to Reproduction”, a Wellcome Trust supported project. http://www.reproduction.group.cam.ac.uk/
‘Towards a Physiological Novel’ is a series of 8 bi-weekly talks and screenings initiated by Sidsel Meineche Hansen on the subject of communication and Angst, and the production of noise and nervousness in an electronic era. The talks will operate as a mode of research for a physiological novel that examines how information circulates – how it, in physiological terms, is embodied, and consumed in our current society. The series will bring together a diverse range of theoreticians, artists and fiction writers whose works’ provide a flexible foundation for dealing with these ideas. The events are free.