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history of women gender and sexuality
Seminar, History of Women, Gender and Sexuality

“The Kind of Death, Natural or Violent”: Fetal Death and the Male Midwife in Nineteenth-Century Boston

Hannah Smith, University of Minnesota
Comment: Nora Doyle, Salem College

Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 5:15PM - 6:30PM

This dissertation chapter examines a lecture by Boston man-midwife Walter Channing. The lecture is meant to offer his (male) midwifery students the skills to serve as expert witnesses in infanticide trials. However, Channing also uses the lecture to promote his opinions of both infanticide and intentional abortion. This chapter focuses on the language Channing uses to frame these acts, as well as the nature of the lecture itself as a form of communication, in order to establish how this lecture fits within the broader discussions around infanticide, abortion, and man-midwifery taking place in the Anglo-Atlantic world at this time.   

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