Abstract

This article examines the development of the incubator for premature infants in fin-de-siècle France. During a period of widespread anxiety in France regarding infant mortality and its implications for population growth, physicians in Paris developed and widely promoted the lifesaving technology. This article explores the ways in which the incubator reflected new scientific and symbolic approaches to creating hygienic spaces as well as how it reflected new scientific and symbolic approaches to the traditionally feminine project of infant care. By creating such an isolating and protective milieu around premature infants—an entirely new population of patients—the incubator, I argue, heralded a renegotiation of the boundary between motherhood and medical authority.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 64-89
Launched on MUSE
2010-12-16
Open Access
No
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