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Women in Antiquity

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Questions for Feb 19th

  • Compare the philosophical accounts of the differences between male and female in Aristotle (339) and Galen (351). What is the womb like? Do we have similar theories about male and female gender based on biology or physiology? Do you think our notions about science reflect cultural ideals about gender. How much have our bodies been conditioned by culture? What might amuse people 2000 years from now about our ideas? How has physiology/biology been used to reinforce social constructions of gender and race throughout history.

  • How are women patients represented in the medical writings? (Read carefully 232, 343, 348, & 352.) Do you think the medical texts reflect "Women's perception of themselves" as Leslie Dean Jones suggests?

  • Apparently female orgasm was essential to conception. What does this tell us about attitudes toward women's sexuality?

  • Does the reluctance on the part of male doctors to touch women's bodies reveal a male fear of the sick female body or does it indicate a respect for women's knowledge of their own bodies? How does King find a way out of this sort of optimist/pessimist dichotomy?

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