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Caring and Curing

Historical Perspectives on Women and Healing in Canada

Edited by Dianne Dodd and Deborah Gorham

Publication Year: 1994

This collection of essays takes the reader from the early 19th century struggle between female midwives and male physicians right up to the late 20th century emergence of professionally trained women physicians vying for a place in the medical hierarchy. The bitter conflict for control of birthing and other aspects of domestic health care between female lay healers, particularly midwives, and the emerging male-dominated medical profession is examined from new perspectives.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Social Sciences

Table of Contents

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

This volume had its origins in the 1991 lecture series "Gender and Medicine," sponsored by the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. The editors would like to thank Dr. Toby Gelfand, Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, who initiated the idea for the series. Professor Meryn Stuart,...

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Chapter 1 Introduction

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pp. 1-16

This collection of articles on women and health care in Canada from the 1880s to the present, which grew out of the 1991 University of Ottawa Hannah Lecture Series, contributes to an understanding of the complex role women have played in the history of health care, as health care accepted the gendered medical hierarchy, which conflated...

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Chapter 2 Helpers or Heroines? The National Council of Women, Nursing, and "Woman's Work" in Late Victorian Canada

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pp. 17-48

In 1905, the Canadian-born nursing reformer Isabelle Hampton Robb lamented that the "good nurses do in hospitals is now unquestioned, but outside the hospital the trained nurse is still regarded as a not altogether unmixed blessing." At the root of the problem, she suggested, was the public's failure to distinguish between the professional, modern...

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Chapter 3 Shifting Professional Boundaries: Gender Conflict in Public Health, 1920–1925

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pp. 49-70

In recent years, much has been written about the failure of modern public health nursing to reach its historically much glorified potential.1 The profession of nursing itself is suffering from what Susan Reverby has called a "disorder" spawned by the uneasy hospital-nursing relationship initiated over a century ago.2 Fleeing this hospital bond,...

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Chapter 4 Science and Technique: Nurses' Work in a Canadian Hospital, 1920–1939

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pp. 71-102

Creating a conceptual framework from which to understand nurses' relationship to science has intrigued, and sometimes confounded, several generations of nursing scholars and educators. More recently, however, this question of the nurse-science dynamic has been raised by historians of women, who themselves have puzzled over how to fit...

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Chapter 5 "Larger Fish to Catch Here than Midwives": Midwifery and the Medical Profession in Nineteenth-Century Ontario

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pp. 103-134

Women assisting other women before, during, and after childbirth—the practice of female midwifery—probably constitutes the oldest, most traditional, and culturally widespread health care activity. Typically, female birth attendants would comfort the woman in labour, help withthe delivery of the child, sever the umbilical cord, dispose of the afterbirth, and perhaps ...

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Chapter 6 Helen MacMurchy: Popular Midwifery and Maternity Services for Canadian Pioneer Women

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pp. 135-162

Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, male medical practitioners successfully asserted control over more and more aspects of the traditional mothering role.l The medicalization of childbirth, which saw a transition from midwifery with its emphasis on "natural" childbirth to physician-controlled and eventually hospital based birthing, is one aspect...

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Chapter 7 Care of Mothers and Infants in Montreal between the Wars: The Visiting Nurses of Metropolitan Life, Les Gouttes de lait, and Assistance maternelle

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pp. 163-182

Motherhood, that is, childbearing and child rearing, constitutes one of the main components of modern homemaking. Indeed, it was precisely that responsibility, assigned exclusively to women, that justified the existence of a domestic environment separate from the world of business,and the assignment of women to that environment and the activities...

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Chapter 8 "No Longer an Invisible Minority": Women Physicians and Medical Practice in Late Twentieth-Century North America

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pp. 183-212

The contributors to this volume have explored several aspects of the history of women as healers in Canada during the last century. Some general themes emerge from their work. First, although physicians even in the 1990s remain reluctant to acknowledge the fact, healing has health care system has developed in Canada from the late nineteenth...


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pp. 213-218

E-ISBN-13: 9780776615592
E-ISBN-10: 0776615599
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776603872
Print-ISBN-10: 0776603876

Page Count: 218
Publication Year: 1994

Volume Title: 18
Series Title: Social Sciences