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Medicine meets the sexed body: Discovering, diagnosing, producing and shaping 
David Griffiths (University of Surrey)
Sorcha Ui Chonnachtaigh (Keele University)
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Discovery, discussion and decision
Welcome Centre Lecture Theatre 4
Start time:
28 July, 2018 at
Time zone: Europe/London
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Western biomedicine has historically worked within a strict binary model of sex and gender, pathologizing those forms of embodiment that do not fit. This panel will open discussions about historical and current 'meetings' that shape and produce both medicine and the sexed body.

Long Abstract:

While Western biomedicine and law have tended to work within a strict, hierarchical binary model of sex and gender, not all bodies fit this model. Historically, these forms of embodiment have been pathologized by medicine. In parallel, medicine has pathologized - and the law has sometimes criminalised - sexual and gender identities that challenge binary sex-gender norms.

The medico-scientific 'discovery' of different forms of sexed embodiment since the 18th Century has resulted in the appropriation of deliberation and decisions about those bodies by medical professionals. The challenges and uncertainty raised by the sexed body have largely been managed within medicine ever since. For example, cosmetic surgeries on intersex infants to 'normalise' their genitals continue despite decades of activism. People of trans and/or non-binary experience however, while often over-medicalised and pathologized, are still struggling to have basic healthcare needs met.

In this panel, we want to open discussion about both historical and current 'meetings'. These may include those between doctors and patients, between law and medicine, between science and activism or, expanding the scope of the panel, between any of the diverse human and non-human agencies that produce and shape medicine and the sexed body. We recognise the contingent and overlapping nature of these categories and acknowledge the ongoing activism is attempting to protect and empower individuals with historically pathologized bodies. We welcome interest and submissions from academics, activists, artists, and others with an interest in this field.

Accepted papers:

Session 1