Contraception is not an invention of modern times, nor is it a purely personal matter. Social institutions such as the church and the state have exerted their influence as effectively as doctors, population theorists, and the early pioneers of the feminist movement. All of these claim a special expertise in matters of ethics and morality, and so have shaped the discourses on and practices of birth control over the centuries. In this engaging new book Robert Jütte offers a history of contraception from the Ancient world to the present day. He distinguishes two broad phases: first, a long phase, extending from the Ancient world up to the 18th century, in which birth control was part of a traditional form of sexual knowledge what Jütte calls, following the French social philosopher Michel Foucault, the ars erotica. In the second phase, which began in the 19th century, practices of birth control are increasingly shaped by the emerging models of scientific knowledge, while still retaining some vestiges of the erotic arts. In addition to the contraceptives we know and use today, from coitus interruptus to the condom and the pill, Jütte considers other methods of birth control as diverse as the use of herbal potions and vaginal pessaries, the castration of young boys and the enforced sterilization of men and women. This comprehensive history of one of the oldest and most widespread of human practices offers a rich and nuanced account of how men and women across the centuries have struggled with the needs both for sexual gratification and for limitation of offspring, while also looking beyond the present to catch a glimpse of how contraception might evolve in the future.
In Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance, John Riddle showed, through extraordinary scholarly sleuthing, that women from ancient Egyptian times to the fifteenth century had relied on an extensive pharmacopoeia of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives to regulate fertility. In Eve's Herbs, Riddle explores a new question: If women once had access to effective means of birth control, why was this knowledge lost to them in modern times? Beginning with the testimony of a young woman brought before the Inquisition in France in 1320, Riddle asks what women knew about regulating fertility with herbs and shows how the new intellectual, religious, and legal climate of the early modern period tended to cast suspicion on women who employed "secret knowledge" to terminate or prevent pregnancy. Knowledge of the menstrual-regulating qualities of rue, pennyroyal, and other herbs was widespread through succeeding centuries among herbalists, apothecaries, doctors, and laywomen themselves, even as theologians and legal scholars began advancing the idea that the fetus was fully human from the moment of conception. Drawing on previously unavailable material, Riddle reaches a startling conclusion: while it did not persist in a form that was available to most women, ancient knowledge about herbs was not lost in modern times but survived in coded form. Persecuted as "witchcraft" in centuries past and prosecuted as a crime in our own time, the control of fertility by "Eve's herbs" has been practiced by Western women since ancient times.
This text traces the history of contraception and abortifacients from ancient Egypt to the 17th century, and discusses the scientific merit of the ancient remedies and why this knowledge about fertility control was gradually lost over the course of the Middle Ages.
"Both an exhaustive survey of many cultures over a period of three thousand years, and a thoughtful application of sociological discipline to the history of medicine, Medical History of Contraception is a fascinating introduction to the era of Humanae Vitae. 'Men and women have always longed for both fertility and sterility, each at its appointed time and in its chosen circumstance,' the author declares, and his book, first published in 1936, is a masterful collation of historical and anthropological evidence, from pre-literature Trobianders to semi-literate London. The bibliography of 1500 items, covering publications up to the mid-1930's, is a unique contribution to scholarship."--Publisher's description.
The authors analyze the tortuous course that Puerto Rico has followed in evolving a population policy, highlighting the island's rapic economic growth, its role as a laboratory for testing different methods of birth control, and the inevitable conflicts between church and state. The strands of colonialism, catholicism, and contraception are woven into a background of profound social change, characterized by shifting values, industrialization, mass emigration, and technical innovation. Originally published 1983. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.
BIRTH CONTROL, CONTRACEPTION, FAMILY PLANNING. Heralded as the catalyst of the sexual revolution and the solution to global overpopulation, the contraceptive pill was one of the twentieth century's most important inventions. It has not only transformed the lives of millions of women but has also pushed the limits of drug monitoring and regulation across the world. This deeply-researched new history of the oral contraceptive shows how its development and use have raised crucial questions about the relationship between science, medicine, technology, and society. Lara Marks explores the reasons why the pill took so long to be developed and explains why it did not prove to be the social panacea envisioned by its inventors. Unacceptable to the Catholic Church, rejected by countries such as India and Japan, too expensive for women in poor countries, it has, more recently, been linked to cardiovascular problems.
This narrative history of one of the most far-reaching social movements in the 20th century shows how it defied the law and made the use of contraception an acceptable social practice—and a necessary component of modern healthcare. * 15 photographs and images of the major players in the movement and of key publications and contraceptive devices * A selected bibliography and extensive end notes, providing an up-to-date source for primary and secondary material on the birth control movement