Hysteria I: Women and Technology in Belle Époque France

Warning: This episode includes frank depiction of sexuality.

It’s one of the oldest diagnoses on record: hysteria, the medical condition that for millennia attributed anything men found uncomfortable about women’s behavior to their womb wandering around their body. What was up with that, how was it treated, and how did it reach its zenith in 19th-century France? Find out in this disturbing episode!

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Co-hosts: Nick and Anna

Time/place: France, 1893 CE

Dead idea: Hysteria

Devices Mentioned in the Episode:

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Main Sources

Aretaeus. (1972/1856). The Extant Works of Aretaeus, the Cappadocian. Adams, F. LL.D., Ed. Boston: Milford House. Downloaded Nov. 30, 2016, from: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0254%3Atext%3DSA%3Abook%3D2%3Achapter%3D11

Cordon, L. (2012). Freud’s World: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Times. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.

Hustvedt, A. (2011). Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris. New York. W. W. Norton & Co.

Kahun Medical Papyrus. (2002). Quirke, S., Trans. University College London. Downloaded Nov. 30, 2016, from: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums-static/digitalegypt/med/birthpapyrus.html

Maines, R. (1999). The Technology of Orgasm. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Van Driel, M. (2012). With the Hand: A Cultural History of Masturbation. Vincent, P., Trans. London: Reaktion Books.


Maps, pics, references, and more at http://www.deadideas.net. Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff.


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