Imagining the black body: race, gender and gynaecology in late colonial Australia

Featherstone, Lisa (2006) Imagining the black body: race, gender and gynaecology in late colonial Australia. Lilith, 15 86-96.

Author Featherstone, Lisa
Title Imagining the black body: race, gender and gynaecology in late colonial Australia
Journal name Lilith   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0813-8990
Publication date 2006-01-01
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 15
Start page 86
End page 96
Total pages 11
Place of publication Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Publisher Australian Women's History Network
Language eng
Abstract This article will consider intersections between race, gender and imperialism in Australia in the late colonial period, through an exploration of medical attitudes towards bodies. It will examine the rhetorical construction of Indigenous women in gynaecology and obstetrics, in particular the sexualisation of black female bodies as libidinous, wanton and barbaric. It will also consider the clinical treatment Maori and Islander women received at the hands of Australian doctors well versed in theories of race and degeneration. The article will suggest that the construction of the ‘savage’ black woman was an essential counterpoint to ideals of white maternity and reproduction. Yet, at the same time, Australia’s own Indigenous women were largely absent from medical discourse. The Aboriginal woman and mother was so marginalised within Australian medicine that she was rendered invisible, subsumed into the parallel racialised conceptions of a generic, barbaric black female body and the ideal, white maternal body.
Keyword Race
Australia
Colonial period
Medical attitudes towards bodies
Indigenous women
Gynaecology
Gender
Imperialism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 08 Aug 2016, 11:42:10 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry