If you happen to live in NYC or are visiting, check out tonight’s talk at NYU’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Elizabeth Reis will be giving a talk titled “Surgeries in Search of Disorders: Intersex and Circumcision in American History.” Here are the details as described on the CSGS web site:
September 30, Wednesday
6:30 to 8 PM
NYU Humanities Initiative Lecture Room
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
Bowery @ East 5th Street
Elizabeth Reis is an associate professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Department of History at the University of Oregon and author of Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England (1997) and Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex (2009).
In this talk, Elizabeth Reis will explore how so-called “normalizing” genital surgeries have been performed on infants for non-medical reasons throughout American history. In the case of intersex, social factors, such as the potential for marriage and the fear of homosexuality, in particular, have motivated these surgeries since the early 19th century. Similarly, male circumcision has been motivated by social rather than medical concerns, the incidence increasing and coinciding with the fear of masturbation in 19th-century Americ