Detailed Table of Contents
Author’s Bios: see below.
Abstract: This contribution develops a longue-durée of the clitoricidal history in the ‘West,’ i. e. countries like Italy, Germany, England, France, and the United States between 1600 and 1970. Finzsch shows how the discourse and the practice of cliteridectomy changed over time, from a rarely practiced gynophobia operation to control female sexuality directed against women-desiring women to a medical procedure that was supposed to combat masturbation, nymphomania, and hysteria. Finally, the author proposes three hypotheses to explain the diminishing occurrence of cliteridectomy in said countries.
Author’s Bio: Norbert Finzsch studied German Literature and History at the universities of Cologne and Bordeaux. Finzsch worked at the Universities of California in Berkeley, Bordeaux, the Australian National University in Canberra, the University of Hamburg, and at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. He is Professor Emeritus of North American History at the University of Cologne. His research interests cover the history of sexualities, African American History, and the cultural history of the United States of America.
Abstract: This article focuses on a hitherto unknown surgical practices performed around the vulva. At the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, a group of Chicago-based surgeons performing orificial surgery expounded on the curing and helpful aspects of surgical practices performed on mouth and nose and the bodily orifices below the waist. This association was founded by Edwin Pratt, a trained physician and homeopath. In 1887 he had published a monograph on Orificial Surgery, between 1892 and 1901 he edited the Journal of Orificial Surgery. Although the majority of the articles were contributions of him, other practitioners also gave examples of their treatment activities. Orificial surgery fits in well with the idea of reflex neuroses, which was an accepted explanation for disease at that time. Pratt recommended surgical interventions on the rectum, circumcision as well as the removal of the hood of the clitoris and even hysterectomy to cure masturbation and insanity, and other so-called chronic diseases. This paper attempts to contextualize the era of Orificial Surgery and their protagonists in the medical and social realm.
Author’s Bio: Marion Hulverscheidt studied Medicine at the Universities of Kiel and Göttingen, and History of Science at Göttingen University. During her doctorate, she stayed at the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Currently, she is an MD in a psychosomatic Clinic in Kassel (on leave) and researches an SNF-founded project on the history of medicine at Zürich University, on the medical treatment of children with variations of sex developments at the Zürich Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hulverscheidt teaches at the Institute for Philosophy at Kassel University. Her research interests cover the history of disease and sexuality and the normative power of medical cultures in the 19th and 20th century.
Abstract: The case of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a touchstone for controversies between universalism and cultural relativism, both within and beyond feminist thinking. Revisiting the discussion regarding FGM/C provides important insights for contemporary feminist thinking because it touches upon issues that are highly relevant to today’s discussions involving the question of human rights, individual and collective identity, othering, inequalities between the global North and the global South, the culturalization of gender and the intersection between gender, class, and ethnicity. Discussing feminist universalist and feminist cultural relativist perspectives on FGM/C, the paper reframes the two approaches as mutually constituting and conditioning each other. This mediated model contributes to a normative and simultaneously contextually embedded approach as a basis for a substantial analysis of FGM/C, and for contemporary feminist thinking.
Author’s Bio: Janne Mende is currently holding a visiting fellowship at the Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences. Before the fellowship, Dr. Mende has been working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Development and Decent Work at the University of Kassel. Her research topics include human rights, corporate social responsibility, globalization and global governance, non-state actors, culture and identity, indigenous rights, and gender in the areas of international political theory, political theory, and international relations.
Abstract: Since the turn of the 21st century, more and more women choose to undergo Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery (FGCS) to fit a vulvovaginal aesthetic ideal. With a focus on reduction labiaplasty as the currently most widespread of these procedures, this article examines FGCS through a critical cultural studies lens to position it within larger feminist debates about body image, consumer culture, and female agency. A central question is where our Western ideal of female genital appearance comes from that incites the desire to undergo surgical body modification? Against the backdrop of post-colonial criticism, the article challenges the distinction between FGM in non-Western cultures and FGCS in the West through questioning the notion of informed consent associated with the latter. By bringing together otherwise separate voices from various disciplines, the overall aim is to present FGCS as an intricate interface between biology, psychology, culture, and media discourse.
Author’s Bio: Madita Oeming graduated from the University of Goettingen with an M.A. in American Studies and Anglophone Literature and Culture. With her Master’s thesis Moby’s Dick she had already entered the field of Porn Studies, within which she is now pursuing her Ph.D. project “American Discourses on Pornography in the Digital Age.” Oeming is teaching American literature and culture at the University of Paderborn. In the spring 2018 semester, she is going to Tulane University, New Orleans, as a visiting scholar with the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and will present her current work on porn addiction at the SCMS annual conference in Toronto.
Abstract: This essay describes how a controversy over clitoridectomy came to influence the conjuncture of imperial politics and nationalist resistance between Kenya and Great Britain the 1930s. Clitoridectomy was a key component of the initiation rites of leading population groups in Kenya. Missionaries and medical doctors opposed it on moral and health grounds, African men and some women defended it a precondition of mature and responsible adulthood. An unlikely meeting and collaboration between a group of people – Marie Bonaparte, Jomo Kenyatta, Bronislaw Malinowski and Prince Peter – who had a keen interest in the issue, generated new insights into the roots of tradition, how it fitted into not only structures of the human psyche but also the social structure of so-called traditional societies. The essay discusses what led to the collaboration, traces its consequences and situates the clitoridectomy controversy in the context of anti-colonial and female emancipation.
Author’s Bio: Bodil Folke Frederiksen is associate professor of Development Studies at Roskilde University in Denmark. Her teaching and research areas are the interface between culture and politics in East and Southern Africa. Frederiksen researches the localization of media and global popular culture, consumption and representation, and their role in identities and social and livelihood practices. She is interested in the political and cultural articulations of disadvantaged groups, how they often happen through mobilization in ‘uncivil’ social movements. She also highlights the work of local intellectuals, writers and artists and their contributions to the political and social achievements. Finally, she researches the history of sexuality in Africa.
Author’s Bio: Patrick Osborne is a PhD candidate in post-1900 American literature and cultural studies at Florida State University. Much of his recent scholarship examines representations of deviant behavior in contemporary literature and popular culture. His articles, “Evaluating the Presence of Social Strain in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto IV” and “Finding Glee in a High School Hell: Social Bonding as Salvation for the Adolescent Pariah,” appear in Studies in Popular Culture. His essay, “‘I’m the Bitch that Makes You a Man’: Conditional Love as Female Vengeance in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl,” can be found in in volume 63 of Gender Forum. His work can also be found in Popular Culture Review, Persona Studies and Literature and Belief.
Author’s Bio: Keshia Mcclantoc is a Masters student in composition and rhetoric at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She previously earned a bachelors in English, with a concentration in writing, from the University of Montevallo in Alabama. Her research interests include queer inclusive feminist rhetorics, reinvention narratives, and fan studies.