Thesis ID: CBB001560681

Hormonal Bodies: Sex, Race, and Constitutional Medicine in the Iberian-American World, 1900--1950 (2013)


MacMillan, Kurt Thomas (Author)

University of California, Irvine
Tinsman, Heidi

Publication Date: 2013
Edition Details: Advisor: Tinsman, Heidi
Physical Details: 241 pp.
Language: English

This dissertation analyzes scientific ideas about sex and race associated with constitutional medicine that circulated between Chile, Ecuador, and Spain during the first half of the twentieth century. Constitutional medicine correlated physical features of the body with mental characteristics based on the notion that both had been determined by the endocrine system. Constitutional medicine classified individuals and populations according to hormone-based categories of body and character in order to evaluate health and susceptibility to disease. Under the banner of public health and social reform, constitutional taxonomies defined racial and sexual differences and anchored them in the physical body. "Hormonal Bodies" examines the impact of constitutional medicine in the Iberian-American world by focusing on three scientific figures: Alexander Lipschütz (1883-1980), an internationally-renowned Chilean physiologist and social scientist; Agustín Cueva Tamariz (1903-1979), a prolific Ecuadorian psychiatrist and literary scholar; and Gregorio Marañón (1887-1960), an endocrinologist and a major twentieth-century Spanish intellectual. By analyzing the work of Lipschütz, Cueva Tamariz, and Marañón, "Hormonal Bodies" demonstrates that constitutional medicine was a transnational discourse used to address specific national concerns about sex and race. "Hormonal Bodies" makes several significant contributions to Latin American history. First, this dissertation underlines Latin Americans as producers of scientific knowledge in the twentieth century. While Latin America has been habitually overlooked by historians of science, recent studies of Iberian-American knowledge networks have only considered the colonial period. "Hormonal Bodies" illustrates the primacy of Latin American scientists in the history of constitutional medicine and the persistence of Iberian-American networks in the modern era. This dissertation also distinguishes constitutional medicine as foundational knowledge of sex and race in Latin America during the first half of the twentieth century. The engagement of Latin American scientists with constitutional medicine shows that racial concepts of the Indian emerged from prior arguments about sex. Finally, while historians of modern Latin America have often portrayed science as a tool wielded by socially dominant classes to pursue predetermined political goals, "Hormonal Bodies" reveals how scientific ideas produce politics rather than simply being applied to them.


Description “Analyzes scientific ideas about sex and race associated with constitutional medicine that circulated between Chile, Ecuador, and Spain.” (from the abstract) Cited in ProQuest Diss. & Thes. . ProQuest Doc. ID 1270811123.

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Authors & Contributors
Epstein, Randi Hutter
Comte, Julien
Wray, Matt
Watkins, Elizabeth Siegel
Thifault, Marie-Claude
Stark, James F.
Medical History
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Health and History
Gender and History
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Bulletin of the History of Archaeology
Duke University Press
University of California, San Diego
W. W. Norton & Co.
University of Pittsburgh Press
Harvard University Press
Public health
Medicine and gender
Medicine and race
Cross-national interaction
Public policy
Jamot, Eugene
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
18th century
United States
Georgia (U.S.)
Rockefeller Foundation
United States. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)

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