Analytical essay concerning women in modern medicine

Essay Prompt:
How did the 19th century medical preoccupation with a particularly feminine link between reproductive and nervous function reflect Victorian era social and scientific ideals and anxieties? What new diagnostic categories and therapeutic regimes emerged as a result of this emphasis on reproductive and mental health? To what extent did the Victorian emphasis on scientific explanation and the growing participation of women as practitioners affirm or challenge these ideas or practices by the end of the century?

For your Midterm, you will produce a 4-5 page analytical essay concerning this week’s theme of women in modern medicine and drawing from the assigned readings for the week, as well as 2 further secondary resources of your choosing. Be sure to address the prompt thoroughly in your essay.

Read the prompt carefully, taking note of the questions you will need to address in your essay. Follow this by reading the article by Rosenberg-Smith and Rosenberg and the chapter by Morantz-Sanchez linked in the Learning Materials section of the module. Focus upon those aspects of the readings that are relevant to the prompt. Take note of important points, useful evidence, as well as any remaining questions you may have after reading these accounts.

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Locate 2 other sources in the secondary literature that will help you extend your analysis of the problem presented in the prompt. These resources may address details not covered by the authors of the assigned readings or may offer corroborating or competing interpretations. You should integrate these resources into your overall analysis, rather than use them to supply a singular piece of evidence. See the Library Resources document for a list of trustworthy journals devoted to the history of medicine.

Address the prompt thoroughly in a 4-5 page essay (12pt, Times New Roman, double spaced). You should announce your overarching argument for the essay in a clear and concise thesis statement near the beginning of your paper. Support your central thesis throughout the remainder of the paper, supplying and citing supporting evidence from your 4 sources, and explaining the relevance of these details with clear and original analysis.

Morantz-Sanchez, Regina Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine 2nd ed. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, 2000. p.203-231. Read online. (Links to an external site.)

Smith-Rosenberg, Caroll and Rosenberg, Charles The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth Century America. Journal of American History. 1973, vol.60(2): p.332-356. Read online


Analytical Essay Concerning Women in Modern Medicine

            Historically, and in many parts of the world, the participation of women in the medical profession has been extensively and significantly restricted. However, women practicing medicine have done so informally by assuming the role of caregivers, as well as in the allied health profession that has been widespread.[1] The focus, therefore, is on the 19th century in terms of medical preoccupation with a particular feminine connection between nervous and reproductive function, and how it reflects the scientific and social ideals and anxieties of the Victoria era. New diagnostic categories will also be determined following the emphasis on mental and reproductive health, …

           To begin with, the 19th-century medical preoccupation had most of the information coming from the prescriptive medical literature that described the female body functions, which led to the medical historians examining and analyzing the medical womanhood construction using this material.[2] This medical preoccupation addressed the medical description interplay, …

  1. Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll, and Charles Rosenberg. 1973. “The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth-Century America”. The Journal of American History. 60 (2): p. 335.
  • Morantz-Sanchez, Regina. 2000. “Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine 2nd Ed.” Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press. p. 206.
  • Smith-Rosenberg and Charles, the Female Animal, p. 338.

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