Accepted Paper:

Reproductive Health Of Women In Turkestan: The Origins Of Medicalization (Late 19th And Early 20th Centuries)  


Sanavar Shadmanova (Institute of History)

Paper long abstract:

This paper studies process of medicalization of childbirth and the pathology of the birth act in medical discourse. The process of medicalization of female reproductive health was expressed in that it took under control a whole life period of the woman - from maturation to pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum recovery and female diseases. By the end of 19th century, the hierarchy in the activity of a doctor-obstetrician and midwife was established in Turkestan. Doctors-midwives began to control the area of pathological obstetrics and to provide benefits for "difficult births." And the bulk of local population, especially population of small towns and villages, were treated exclusively during "difficult births". The authority of scientific obstetrics was confirmed due to the development of the theory of operational obstetrics. Cesarean section operations began to be performed not only in hospitals, but also at home. On the other hand, there were gender stereotypes of society regarding the inadmissibility of men to examine and study the female body on the way of spreading scientific obstetrics. For this reason, the first dispensary intended for the local population of Turkestan was an outpatient clinic for women and children, that began its activity in 1883 in Tashkent, and later similar dispensaries were opened in other cities of the region. In the outpatient clinic of this type only women worked. However, the Muslims of the large cities of the region began to turn to male doctors of "European" origin. I argue that birth process transited from folk medicine to scientific midwifery in Turkestan at late 19th and early 20th centuries. Furthermore, I show that in 1920s, Muslim women who had no children started to contact the gynecologists about consent to artificial insemination. This research is based on periodical materials, published materials and archival documents from Central State Archive of Uzbekistan and Central State Archive of Scientific, Technical and Medical Documentation of Uzbekistan. The approaches of the social history of medicine, gender history and feminist anthropology, as well as the methods of content analysis and discursive analysis play main role in this paper.

Panel HIS-15
Turkestan and the "Great Game"