Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xviii

After God so graciously created a helper for Adam, the man and woman lived together in pure bliss for a little while. Th en one day, so the story goes, “when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xix-xxii

This book was born in September 2013 after Lisa Meloncon had invited me, several months earlier, to give a keynote talk at the first University of Cincinnati’s “Discourses of Health, Medicine, and Society” symposium. I had just finished a couple of major projects, and I needed a new one. Somehow, through the...

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1. Hormones and Hysteria: A Rhetorical Topology

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pp. 1-16

To capture the complexities of the long history through which hormones have come to replace hysteria, I invoke as a framework for this book’s rhetorical history Michel Serres’s theory of time as topological. In mathematics, topology is the “study of the properties that are preserved through deformations, twistings...

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2. Hysteria from Ancient Texts Until the Nineteenth Century: The Womb as Topological Space

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pp. 17-44

When scholars study the history of specific health conditions, they can usually identify a specific moment when uncertainty and guesswork gave way to scientific explanations and treatments that are proven to have some degree of efficacy. So, for instance, when it became possible to produce and market insulin as a...

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3. Charcot's Circus: Nineteenth-Century Science of Hysteria as a Moment of Stasis

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pp. 45-75

Stasis, which translates literally from Greek as “stopping place,” has been used in classical rhetoric to understand the different kinds of stopping places, or forms of disagreement, from which arguments can unfold. This way of thinking about stasis has offered a fruitful way to illuminate how and why some arguments get...

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4. Stasis Unsettled: The Early Twentieth-Century Rise of Endocrinology

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pp. 76-99

During the same time that Charcot and his peers were trying to sharpen their scientific understanding of hysteria, a diverse group of scientists in other disciplines were investigating a set of chemical phenomena in the human body that would soon come to be known as the endocrine system. The exact manner in...

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5. Topology of Sex Difference: A Long History of Men Saying Outrageous Things About Women’s Reproductive Organs

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pp. 100-127

One of the most vibrant debates in biology through the ages has been the debate surrounding the question of male and female agency in human reproduction. It was common in the ancient biology texts to treat the female as a passive recipient of the male seed; thus, she was responsible for nurturing, but not creating...

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6. Illuminating Women: Metaphor and Movement After Centuries of “Groping in the Dark”

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pp. 128-155

With this language from their 1974 article, “Isolation of Progesterone—Forty Years Ago,” Adolf Butenandt and Ulrich Westphal reminisce about the moment in March 1934 when their team of scientists first isolated progesterone in the laboratory. This breakthrough was an important next step—following Allen...

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7. This Is Your [Female] Brain on Hormones: Enthymeme in Contemporary Discourse

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pp. 156-184

At a website called Pregly, a thread titled “It’s not my fault I have pregnancy brain” appears in the “Pregnancy and fathers” discussion forum. Interestingly, despite the forum title, all the forum posts appear to be written by pregnant mothers, but these mothers emphasize how their “pregnancy brain” has impacted...

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8. From Hysteria to Hormones

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pp. 185-212

For at least a couple of decades before Starling first used the word hormone in a 1905 lecture to the Royal Society in London, experts knew that a chemical substance enabled the organs to communicate with each other to enable processes like digestion and respiration. However, they did not have a good term to describe...

Notes

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pp. 213-224

Bibliography

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pp. 225-234

Index

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pp. 235-239