Abstract/Details

Attending the birth of a nation


2008 2008

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation explores the intersections between maternal discourses and political discourses during the long eighteenth century with a focus on understanding how the relationship between these discourses helped to form a British national identity. I argue that not only did political discourse influence maternal discourse by focusing on technological and progress in the field of obstetrics, but discourse surrounding the maternal body also influenced Britain's body politic. A desire for scientific understanding during the Enlightenment resulted in more careful dissection of maternal bodies and subsequent publication of medical texts which included the emerging anatomical information. Political debates surrounding midwifery instruments like the obstetric forceps led to shifts within the field of obstetrics resulting in the displacement of female midwives in favor of medical men. The maternal breast was also a component of the ideal maternal body that came under increased surveillance during the eighteenth century with heated conflict about the dangers and benefits of maternal breastfeeding. Beyond the maternal body, the maternal ideal continued as an impossible standard for British mothers who must concern themselves with a complex and constantly changing set of ideal patterns of behavior designed to maximize the potential for each new British citizen they produced. The eighteenth-century was a time of progress and technological advances which, when coupled with the emerging national identity, found its gaze intensely trained on the role of maternity in the nation.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Womens studies;
British and Irish literature;
Midwifery;
Politics;
Social identity
Classification
0453: Womens studies
0593: British and Irish literature
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Childbirth; Eighteenth century; Female body; Motherhood; Pregnancy
Title
Attending the birth of a nation
Author
Munson, Amy T.
Number of pages
262
Publication year
2008
Degree date
2008
School code
0183
Source
DAI-A 69/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549852179
Advisor
Allen, Emily; Salvaggio, Ruth
Committee member
Friedman, Geraldine; Schweickart, Patrocinio
University/institution
Purdue University
Department
English
University location
United States -- Indiana
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3330551
ProQuest document ID
304501904
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304501904/abstract
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.