By Gertrude Jacinta Fraser
Beginning on the flip of the century, so much African American midwives within the South have been steadily excluded from reproductive future health care. Gertrude Fraser indicates how physicians, public well-being team of workers, and nation legislators fastened a crusade ostensibly to enhance maternal and child overall healthiness, in particular in rural parts. They introduced conventional midwives below the keep watch over of a supervisory physique, and at last eradicated them. within the writings and courses produced by way of those physicians and public overall healthiness officers, Fraser reveals a universe of rules approximately race, gender, the connection of drugs to society, and the prestige of the South within the nationwide political and social economies. Fraser additionally reports this event via dialogues of reminiscence. She interviews individuals of a rural Virginia African American neighborhood that integrated not only retired midwives and their descendants, yet an individual who lived via this modification in scientific care--especially the ladies who gave start at domestic attended by way of a midwife. She compares those narrations to these in modern clinical journals and public overall healthiness fabrics, gaining knowledge of contradictions and ambivalence: was once the midwife a determine of disgrace or satisfaction? How did one distance oneself from what used to be now thought of "superstitious" or "backward" and while recognize and take pleasure within the former unquestioned authority of those ideals and practices? In a tremendous contribution to African American reports and anthropology, African American Midwifery within the South brings new voices to the discourse at the hidden global of midwives and birthing.
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Extra info for African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory
The social body refers to the “representational uses of the body as a natural symbol with which to think about nature, society, and culture” (Scheper-Hughes and Lock 1987, 7). Drawing on the works of structural and symbolic anthropologists, Scheper-Hughes and Lock suggest that the social body provides a source of metaphor for explanation and justiﬁcation of the social order: the body is a symbol of society, and society is symbolic of the body. “To a great extent,” they write, “talk about the body .
They propose three levels to correspond with “the three bodies”—the individual body, the social body, and the body politic. In my way of thinking, when individual women in Green River remember how they gave birth, the nature and level of pain, how they responded to the umbilical cord, or what it felt like to stay in postpartum seclusion, this constitutes the “lived experience of the body”—something that women shared but that had its individual features. ” The social body refers to the “representational uses of the body as a natural symbol with which to think about nature, society, and culture” (Scheper-Hughes and Lock 1987, 7).
After this ﬁrst session, however, many informal visits usually occurred when I was not expected to be recording. I found that people usually gave me what they considered to be the “important” facts during our taped interview. Subsequently, we simply talked over a wide range of subjects not necessarily connected to my explicit interests. It should not be surprising that these impromptu conversations were often the occasions on which people let down their guard. In groups, I also noticed that the norms of what was considered acceptable or not acceptable information were not easily maintained.
African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory by Gertrude Jacinta Fraser