Donnerstag, 06. Mrz 2014, 11:30 - 13:00 iCal

Gendering the body: organs and fluids

Prof. Dr. Helen King

Hörsaal 23, Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien


This course, aimed to appeal to a very wide range of disciplines including the sciences, will take a broad overview of the history of the body, from the Greeks to the nineteenth century, focusing on selected moments in history at which gender played a key role. Starting with the Hippocratic corpus in classical Greece, and the origin of the ideas both of the ‘wandering womb’ and of the complete difference of men from women in the texture of their flesh, it will then examine the points in history at which this image of ‘difference’ was seen as central. We will consider evidence up to the development of blood testing in the nineteenth century, when naturally-occurring differences between the blood of men and that of women were interpreted as justifications for restricting women’s activities and education. The course will use written sources (all in translation) as well as visual images of the body; for example, the illustrations by Leonardo da Vinci will form the topic of one session. We will consider how a body imagined as being based on the movement of various fluids (e.g. the humours) became one focused on key organs, and will include an investigation of the influence of human dissection in this transition; to what extent was the view of the female body influenced by assumptions based on using male cadavers?


Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel- und Neulatein


Lavinia Ioana Enache
Universität Wien
Institut für Klassische Philologie, Mittel-und Neulatein