Births under control. Childbirth in the Modern and Contemporary ages

Nacimientos bajo control. El parto en las edades Moderna y Contemporánea

Under the apparent simplicity of the definition of the term delivery, which is the action of bring a child into the world, raise a number of issues on which this book offers answers. Fruit of the initiative of the Group Demeter: History, Women and Gender, this book is the result of an international seminar held at the University of Oviedo on 29 and 30 November 2011. A first volume, dedicated to the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, is in the process of publication. At the head of this active research group is a specialist of ancient history, Rosa María Cid López. Demeter: History, Women and Gender, as its name says, is dedicated to the history of women and gender from a focus on “long-term”, has organized different international meetings and taken part in other, that have been the subject of publications.

In this book, focused on the epochs of modern and contemporary, the contributions attest to the richness and complexity of the problems studied. Very accomplished, the work has many merits, among which figure the to offer a new perspective on a subject in which the literature is prolific. Several texts in this volume are previously unpublished and come from a phd thesis not yet published. The editors of the work, Sonia Garcia Galan, Silvia Medina Quintana and Carmen Suárez Suárez, are historians of Spanish who have appealed to their counterparts in French (Emmanuelle Berthiaud) and Italian (Francesca Arena and Claudia Pancino), as well as to specialists in Spanish modern history (Helena Carretero Suarez, Patricia Suarez Alvarez) and contemporary history (Mónica García Fernández). While the story occupies a privileged place, there are also contributions from other disciplines such as law and philosophy (Carmen Carracedo Falagán and Susana Carro Fernández, respectively). In effect, the issue of labor concerns in a number of areas and this book illustrates the interesting part of a multidisciplinary approach.

Anne Cova, the Preface (pp. 11-12)

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Births under control is to approach the moment of birth throughout the Modern and Contemporary ages. Understanding the act of giving birth within the broader social construction and cultural of the maternity, the book brings together a total of ten articles from many other authors, including two Italian and one French. Birth control is presented as a guarantee for the perpetuation of the lineages in the Modern Age, the couple being studied, for the same period, the office of partear and its transformations, the rites that were to meet women during the puerperium and the particular case of the birth of pretense.

Arriving at the Contemporary Age, the control of the delivery from the medicine becomes a paradigmatic example of the devaluation of the knowledge and practices of popular and female. Discusses, also, the experience of giving birth, on the basis of testimonies of women, the transformation of places for the delivery, from the private home to a maternity centre, and is studied, finally, the control of pregnancy and childbirth from a dictatorial regime such as franco’s.

The book concludes with two visions from the feminism that reflect on the control of their own bodies, very relevant in the current context of regression in the rights of sexual and reproductive health in Spain.



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Brief review about the editors

Sonia García Galán is a phd in History from the University of Oviedo and author of the books modern Women, mothers aware and suffragettes exalted. Ideals of femininity and feminist debates in Asturias (1919-1931) (2009), and Women between religion and science. Discourses of the inferiority of female through the press of asturias (1900-1931). He has published also numerous articles in journals and collective works.

Silvia Medina Quintana is a phd in History from the University of Oviedo with the thesis Women and the economy in the roman Hispania. Occupations, wealth and social promotion. He has published also numerous articles in journals and collective works.

Carmen Suárez-Suárez is a phd in History from the University of Oviedo and a degree in Philosophy and Education Sciences by the University of Distance Education. He has published the books The feminism spaniard in the opposition to the Franco regime and the democratic Transition. Experiences, awareness and political action (2014), Narrators of the feminist consciousness: the “own room” of Pain Means Estrada, Sara Suárez Solís and Carmen Gómez Ojea (2014) and Feminists in the transition asturiana (1975-1983). The Feminist Association of Asturias (2003). It is also the publisher of the book Maternity. (De) constructions feminists (2009).

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