Early Modern Medicine: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

Obstetrics: midwife assisting in a birth, Original woodcut image from E. Roeslin, Rosengarten, 1513,Wellcome Collection

│By Georgia Winrow, Gale Ambassador at Lancaster University│

Whilst we may think of how diseases such as the bubonic plague, typhoid or tuberculosis were discussed when studying medicine in early modern Europe, we often do not consider how significantly understandings of sexual and reproductive health developed during this period. The specialism of women’s health in particular was firmly established in these years, with the publication of manuals and treaties to direct physicians and midwives in their practice. Indeed, whilst the early modern period saw practitioners drawing upon the work of ancient authorities, it was also a period of innovation, particularly within science and medicine.

Gale’s Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century collection is truly interdisciplinary and includes materials that would support academic fields as varied as Sociology, Law and Theology. For scholars investigating the History of Medicine, the most significant materials within this collection which can be used to explore the emergence of a comprehensive, gendered understanding of early modern medicine are arguably the medical enquiries, manuals and pamphlets.

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Using Primary Sources to Explore How Courts Punished Interracial Sex in Apartheid South Africa

Picture of Black male hand holding the hand of a white female
This article deals with sensitive issues related to diversity, ethnicity, racism and sex, both referring and linking out to historic sources which use language now deemed inappropriate. The decision to read the post is at your own discretion. 

│By Nonkoliso Andiswa Tshiki, Senior Gale Ambassador at the University of Johannesburg│

Tackling a research assignment can prove to be extremely challenging to many student scholars at first. However, there are a few strategies that I have up my sleeves on how one can approach a research project. Firstly, it’s important to break the question down to ensure that you understand what you are being asked to do and what is required of you. Secondly, it is paramount to find a database that will provide you with materials relevant and valuable to your project. In this post I will demonstrate how I used primary sources in Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive in a recent research assignment at my university to explore how courts investigated and punished interracial sex in South Africa under the apartheid regime. This will hopefully help other scholars who are interested in the history of South African politics see how they too can use Gale’s primary sources in their own research projects.

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L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France – A Student’s Perspective

|By Rob Youngs do Patrocinio, Gale Ambassador at University College London|

Gale’s rich and exciting archive collection L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque national de France, which is part of Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender series, holds an impressive assortment of approximately 2400 printed works, published mostly in French. Enfer quite literally translates into English as “hell”. The name is remarkable and has certainly contributed to the collection’s historical infamy. When it was opened, the collection was classified and unavailable to the wider public due to its obscene and outlandish nature, and the perceived vulgarity of the content – but perhaps unsurprisingly this only roused interest and curiosity in the collection! Students of today will undoubtedly be equally curious to explore this historically “out of bounds” collection.

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Queer Progress on the High Seas: Exploring LGBTQ Naval Experiences with the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History

By Jo Stanley, academic contributor to Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History
Dr Jo Stanley FRHistS, FRSA, is a creative historian who is internationally acclaimed for her work exploring seafaring minorities. A Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University, her blog is http://genderedseas.blogspot.com and her website is at www.jostanley.biz. She lives very happily in a Pennine mill village, where she is a part-time textile artist and gym bunny.

Having a rainbow at your fingertips is more than handy – it’s a luxurious necessity. So the publication of Gale’s Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History is something I celebrate. It will be extremely satisfying for those who want to quickly find out what so many reference works have previously omitted about LGBTQ history.

As an expert on the gendered sea I’ve previously been pleased to contribute to other encyclopedias, but being able to add my entry on the UK merchant and royal navies to the Global Encyclopedia of LGBTQ History is even more special. Why? Because I’m giving clear information about something still difficult to find material about. There’s been no such succinct summary anywhere else.

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