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Sex, sickness, and slavery : illness in the antebellum South / Marli F. Weiner with Mazie Hough.

  • Weiner, Marli Frances, 1953-
[2012], ©2012
  • Books

About this work


This study of medical treatment in the antebellum South argues that Southern physicians' scientific training and practice uniquely entitled them to formulate medical justification for the imbalanced racial hierarchies of the period. Challenged with both helping to preserve the slave system (by acknowledging and preserving clear distinctions of race and sex) and enhancing their own authority (with correct medical diagnoses and effective treatment), doctors sought to understand bodies that did not necessarily fit into neat dichotomies or agree with suggested treatments. Expertly drawing the dynamic tensions during this period in which Southern culture and the demands of slavery often trumped science, Weiner explores how doctors struggled with contradictions as medicine became a key arena for debate over the meanings of male and female, sick and well, black and white, North and South.


Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2012], ©2012.

Physical description

xii, 267 pages ; 25 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Introduction: The Political Body -- Constructing Race -- Constructing Sex -- Placed Bodies -- Ambiguous Bodies -- The Examined Body -- The Unexamined Body -- The Diseased Body -- Conclusion: The Body Politic.


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780252036996
  • 0252036999