Article ID: CBB740927581

Loose Attitudes: Politics of Self-Knowledge in Our Bodies, Ourselves and The House of God (2023)


Readers of Samuel Shem’s medical satire The House of God (1978) have long worried about the bad attitude of his main characters: young male internal medicine trainees. This article examines the interns’ atrocious affections, using the feminist classic Our Bodies, Ourselves (1973) as a counterweight to the masculinist perspective of House of God. These radically different critiques of United States medicine derive from a shared sociopolitical context and represent a historically specific response to the personal politics of sexual liberation and self-actualization in the 1970s. I show that Shem and the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective share a rhetorical strategy of “loose expertise” grounded in embodied knowledge, which connects both texts to the radical social movements of the late 1960s. Loose expertise enables institutional critique by shifting the domain of knowledge away from traditional structures of authority, but inhibits intersectional critique by essentializing the individual subject position of the author. The article concludes by examining the relationship of both texts to the medical humanities.

Included in

Article Jacob D Moses; Agnes Arnold-Forster; Samuel V Schotland (2023) Introduction: Healthcare Practitioners’ Emotions and the Politics of Well-Being in Twentieth Century Anglo-America. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (pp. 341-351). unapi

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Article Megann Licskai; (2023)
Wounded Healers: Abortion and the Affective Practices of Pro-Life Health Care (/p/isis/citation/CBB288446990/) unapi

Book Fabiola Zurlini; Andrea Vesprini; Pietro Scendoni; (2023)
Storiografia Medica in Europa nel Novecento. Dalla Medicina di Precisione alla visione olistica (/p/isis/citation/CBB667654848/) unapi

Chapter Maurizio Rippa Bonati; (2023)
Loris Premuda (1917-2012) un mitteleuropeo a Padova (/p/isis/citation/CBB517583124/) unapi

Chapter Vivian Nutton; (2023)
History of medicine in the Twentieth century: complementary or competing approaches? (/p/isis/citation/CBB702740141/) unapi

Article Licia Montagna; (2023)
Medical Humanities in the Recent Medical Education Literature (/p/isis/citation/CBB628032835/) unapi

Article Silvia Iorio; Silvia Marinozzi; (2018)
Medical Humanities (/p/isis/citation/CBB775719522/) unapi

Article Jacob D Moses; Agnes Arnold-Forster; Samuel V Schotland; (2023)
Introduction: Healthcare Practitioners’ Emotions and the Politics of Well-Being in Twentieth Century Anglo-America (/p/isis/citation/CBB442725039/) unapi

Article Elena Varotto; Mauro Vaccarezza; Roberta Ballestriero; Domenico Tafuri; Francesco Galassi; (2019)
The teaching of anatomy throughout the centuries: from Herophilus to plastination and beyond (/p/isis/citation/CBB228242848/) unapi

Article Elizabeth Frances Caldwell; (2017)
Quackademia? Mass-Media Delegitimation of Homeopathy Education (/p/isis/citation/CBB422293911/) unapi

Article Clarke, John; Wright, David; (2013)
Too Many Doctors? Foreign Medical Graduates and the Debate over Health Care Accessibility in Canada, c.1976--1991 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001213540/) unapi

Article Jill Campbell-Miller; (2021)
The Proving Ground: Colombo Plan Fellowships and the Changing Landscape of Health Education in Canada, 1951–69 (/p/isis/citation/CBB181155364/) unapi

Article Metta Lou Henderson; (2019)
Charting the History of Women Pharmacists (/p/isis/citation/CBB161482036/) unapi

Article Raghavi Ravi Kasthuri; Anu Mary Peter; (2021)
Twelve Years of Graphic Medicine: A Conversation with Comic Nurse on the Future of Comics and Medicine (/p/isis/citation/CBB235466349/) unapi

Article Wang, Jessica; (2012)
Physics, Emotion, and the Scientific Self: Merle Tuve's Cold War (/p/isis/citation/CBB001252327/) unapi

Chapter Menand, Louis; (2012)
Freud, Anxiety, and the Cold War (/p/isis/citation/CBB001251816/) unapi

Article Väänänen, Ari; Murray, Michael; Kuokkanen, Anna; (2014)
The Growth and the Stagnation of Work Stress: Publication Trends and Scientific Representations 1960--2011 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001451517/) unapi

Article Trãni, Christophe; Häberlen, Joachim C.; Spinney, Russell A.; (2014)
Opposing Scientific Cruelty: The Emotions and Sensitivities of Protestors against Experiments on Animals (/p/isis/citation/CBB001550388/) unapi

Chapter Tousignant, Noemi; (2014)
A Quantity of Suffering: Measuring Pain as Emotion in the Mid-Twentieth Century United States (/p/isis/citation/CBB001202328/) unapi

Article Ahmed Ragab; (2018)
Two Students and a Corpse: The Semantics of Disgust in the Making of Colonial Knowledge (/p/isis/citation/CBB451412712/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Rippa-Bonati, Maurizio
Clarke, John
Henderson, Metta Lou
Kuokkanen, Anna
Marinozzi, Silvia
Menand, Louis
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Medicina Historica
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Contemporary European History
Medical education and teaching
Medicine and society
Emotions; passions
Medical humanities
Physicians; doctors
Freud, Sigmund
Premuda, Loris
Tuve, Merle Antony
Clot, Antoine-Barthélémy
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
United Kingdom
Qasr Al-Ayni

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment