Article ID: CBB171973362

Reproduction Without Polarity in the Work of Johann Wilhelm Ritter (2020)

unapi

The theories of reproduction that emerged at the end of the eighteenth century exhibited a range in experimental thinking about concepts of gender and sexuality. This essay focuses on the work of a writer who proposed an unusual alternative to polarity-based ideas of reproduction. Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776–1810) was a physicist and friend to the German Romantics and someone whose writing also shares many interests with German Naturphilosophie. The essay discusses how, inspired by ideas from the alchemical tradition, Ritter challenged conventional thinking about reproduction in two significant ways: by linking it to the idea of rotation, and by using the figure of the androgyne to understand reproductive models in terms of triads, rather than oppositional pairings. A further objective of this essay is to consider which aspects of the alchemical tradition proved the most useful for Ritter’s experimental thinking and to show how he integrated them with reflections on contemporary scientific developments around 1800.

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Authors & Contributors
Holland, Jocelyn
Chang, Ku-Ming (Kevin)
Doyle, Nora
Yann Piot
Tonn, Jenna
Cipolla, Cyd
Journals
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Encyclopedia of the History of Science
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Social History of Medicine
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Publishers
University of Exeter (United Kingdom)
University of Washington Press
University of North Carolina Press
Transcript
Springer
Routledge
Concepts
Reproduction
Alchemy
Chemistry
Sexuality
Gender
Romanticism
People
Ritter, Johann Wilhelm
Stahl, Georg Ernst
Novalis
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
Friedrich Wilhelm I, King of Prussia
Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
17th century
Early modern
21st century
16th century
Places
Germany
United States
France
Great Britain
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