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Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany
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Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany (Hardback)

£99.00
£85.00
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Synopsis

Abortion in the Weimar Republic is a compelling subject since it provoked public debates and campaigns of an intensity rarely matched elsewhere. It proved so explosive because populationist, ecclesiastical and political concerns were heightened by cultural anxieties of a modernity in crisis. Based on an exceptionally rich source material (e.g., criminal court cases, doctors' case books, personal diaries, feature films, plays and literary works), this study explores different attitudes and experiences of those women who sought to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and those who helped or hindered them. It analyzes the dichotomy between medical theory and practice, and questions common assumptions, i.e. that abortion was "a necessary evil," which needed strict regulation and medical control; or that all back-street abortions were dangerous and bad. Above all, the book reveals women's own voices, frequently contradictory and ambiguous: having internalized medical ideas they often also adhered to older notions of reproduction which opposed scientific approaches.

Cornelie Usborne is Professor emerita of History at Roehampton University and Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London. She has published widely on the history of women, reproduction, birth control, sexuality and medicine in Modern Germany. She is the author of The Politics of the Body in Weimar Germany. Women(1)s Reproductive Rights and Duties (London: Macmillan and Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992) and she edited, amongst others, `Picturing the Past', the special issue of the journal Cultural and Social History (with Charlotte Behr and Sabine Wieber, December 2010); Cultural Approaches to the History of Medicine. Mediating Medicine in Early Modern and Modern Europe (with Willem de Blecourt, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Gender and Crime in Modern Europe (edited with Margaret L.Arnot, London: UCL Press, 1999).

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