Summary and Info
Reproductive issues from sex and contraception to abortion and cloning have been controversial for centuries, and scientists who attempted to turn the study of reproduction into a discipline faced an uphill struggle. Adele Clarke's engrossing story of the search for reproductive knowledge across the twentieth century is colorful and fraught with conflict. Modern scientific study of reproduction, human and animal, began in the United States in an overlapping triad of fields: biology, medicine, and agriculture. Clarke traces the complicated paths through which physiological approaches to reproduction led to endocrinological approaches, creating along the way new technoscientific products from contraceptives to hormone therapies to new modes of assisted conceptionfor both humans and animals. She focuses on the changing relations and often uneasy collaborations among scientists and the key social worlds most interested in their workmajor philanthropists and a wide array of feminist and medical birth control and eugenics advocatesand recounts vividly how the reproductive sciences slowly acquired standing. By the 1960s, reproduction was disciplined, and the young and contested scientific enterprise proved remarkably successful at attracting private funding and support. But the controversies continue as womenthe targeted consumerscreate their own reproductive agendas around the world. Elucidating the deep cultural tensions that have permeated reproductive topics historically and in the present, Disciplining Reproduction gets to the heart of the twentieth century's drive to rationalize reproduction, human and nonhuman, in order to control life itself.
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