Publications des membres

Christine Bard et Sylvie Chaperon (dir.), Dictionnaire des féministes. France XVIIIe-XXIe siècle (2017)

Qu’est-ce que le féminisme au juste ? Ce dictionnaire apporte une réponse large (la contestation de l’inégalité entre les sexes), plurielle (les mouvements de femmes, les philosophies ou idéologies qui les nourrissent) et contextualisée. Il n’y a pas de définition universelle et diachronique du féminisme, forme de résistance à un contexte oppressif spécifique. La diversité des vies de militant.e.s, des moyens d’action et d’expression, des revendications et objectifs montre au contraire combien le féminisme prend les couleurs du temps et des lieux qu’il investit. Mais il est aussi, en retour, une force de transformation culturelle sociale et politique de tout premier plan. Issu de recherches universitaires récentes, ce dictionnaire est à la fois biographique et thématique. Il rend compte, avec méthode et pédagogie, de toute la richesse du mouvement féministe en France. Il pourra accompagner les découvertes et les approfondissements pour tous les publics, à l’université, dans les médias, dans les mouvements militants. En effet, le féminisme reste un mouvement peu connu ; il est pourtant à l’œuvre dans l’une des plus profondes transformations sociétales des deux derniers siècles : le recul de la domination masculine, les progrès de l’égalité des sexes et des libertés, la mise en question de la différenciation hiérarchisée (le genre). Autant de luttes toujours d’actualité, même si le féminisme d’aujourd’hui se différencie des premières mobilisations collectives pour les droits civils et politiques.

 

Kirsten Leng, Sexual Politics and Feminist Science: Women Sexologists in Germany, 1900-1933 (2018)

In Sexual Politics and Feminist Science, Kirsten Leng restores the work of female sexologists to the forefront of the history of sexology. While male researchers who led the practice of early-twentieth-century sexology viewed women and their sexuality as objects to be studied, not as collaborators in scientific investigation, Leng pinpoints nine German and Austrian « women sexologists » and « female sexual theorists » to reveal how sex, gender, and sexuality influenced the field of sexology itself. Leng’s book makes it plain that women not only played active roles in the creation of sexual scientific knowledge but also made significant and influential interventions in the field. Sexual Politics and Feminist Science provides readers with an opportunity to rediscover and engage with the work of these pioneers. Leng highlights sexology’s empowering potential for women, but also contends that in its intersection with eugenics, the narrative is not wholly celebratory. By detailing gendered efforts to understand and theorize sex through science, she reveals the cognitive biases and sociological prejudices that ultimately circumscribed the transformative potential of their ideas. Ultimately, Sexual Politics and Feminist Science helps readers to understand these women’s ideas in all their complexity in order to appreciate their unique place in the history of sexology.

 

Kateřina Lišková, Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945–1989 (2018)

This is the first account of sexual liberation in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Kateřina Lišková reveals how, in the case of Czechoslovakia, important aspects of sexuality were already liberated during the 1950s – abortion was legalized, homosexuality decriminalized, the female orgasm came into experts’ focus – and all that was underscored by an emphasis on gender equality. However, with the coming of Normalization, gender discourses reversed and women were to aspire to be caring mothers and docile wives. Good sex was to cement a lasting marriage and family. In contrast to the usual Western accounts highlighting the importance of social movements to sexual and gender freedom, here we discover, through the analysis of rich archival sources covering forty years of state socialism in Czechoslovakia, how experts, including sexologists, demographers, and psychologists, advised the state on population development, marriage and the family to shape the most intimate aspects of people’s lives.

Delphine Gardey et Marilène Vuille (dir.), Les sciences du désir. La sexualité féminine de la psychanalyse aux neurosciences (2018)

Le sexuel est-il affaire d’instinct ou d’apprentissage, de physiologie ou de psychologie, trait individuel ou social ? Où se logent les fonctions et les capacités sexuelles, comment les décrire et les soigner ? Le désir sexuel peut-il être matérialisé, sa physiologie décrite ? S’apparente-t-il à une quête de récompenses ? Dévoile-t-il l’identité profonde des sujets ? Sa nature et son expression diffèrent-elles chez les hommes et les femmes, les hétérosexuelles et les lesbiennes ?Cet ouvrage s’intéresse aux discours savants sur la sexualité féminine, à leurs grammaires leurs motifs récurrents et leurs contradictions, aux imaginaires sociaux qu’ils ouvrent, aux conceptions du sexe et de la sexualité qu’ils promeuvent. Il rend compte des programmes mobilisés au cours d’un long XXe siècle – « de la psychanalyse aux neurosciences » – pour la déchiffrer et soigner ses troubles. Il est aussi attentif aux savoirs profanes sur le sexe et à la manière dont les individus s’approprient ces connaissances pour donner sens à leurs conduites sexuelles.Réunissant des recherches inédites produites par des historiennes, anthropologues, sociologues, psychologues, spécialistes de l’étude sociale des sciences et des études de genre, cet ouvrage propose un panorama large des enjeux médicaux, sociaux et politiques que la question « du désir des femmes » pose aux sociétés occidentales contemporaines.

 

Thierry Delessert, « Des testicules au cerveau. Convertir chirurgicalement un corps homosexuel (1916-1960) », in Hélène Martin et Marta Roca i Escoda (dir.), Sexuer le corps. Huit études sur des pratiques médicales d’hier et d’aujourd’hui (2019)

À partir de la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle, l’homosexualité se voit comprise comme une maladie mentale. En Suisse, cette conception est particulièrement nette, car la Société suisse de psychiatrie en a fait son objet de compétence quasi exclusif en matière d’incidences pénales dès 1893 (Delessert, 2005, 2016). D’autres théories médicales entrent toutefois en concurrence ou en complément avec la psychiatrie. Conçues par des médecins légistes, des physiologistes et des chirurgiens, elles situent la cause de l’homosexualité dans des origines biologiques et proposent des traitements de conversion. Ce chapitre se fonde sur deux types d’opérations chirurgicales menées sur des homosexuels dans le but de les transformer en des hétérosexuels.

 

Caroline Rusterholz, « ‘You can’t dismiss that as being less happy, you see it is different’ Sexual therapy in 1950s England », Twenieth Century British History, vol. 30, n°3 (2019)

This article uses the audio recordings of sexual counselling sessions carried out by Dr Joan Malleson, a birth control activist and committed family planning doctor in the early 1950s, which are held at the Wellcome Library in London as a case study to explore the ways Malleson and the patients mobilised emotions for respectively managing sexual problems and expressing what they understood as constituting a ‘good sexuality’ in postwar Britain. The article contains two interrelated arguments. First, it argues that Malleson used a psychological framework to inform her clinical work. She resorted to an emotion-based therapy that linked sexual difficulties with unconscious, repressed feelings rooted in past events. In so doing, Malleson actively helped to produce a new form of sexual subjectivity where individuals were encouraged to express their feelings and emotions, breaking with the traditional culture of emotional control and restraint that characterized British society up until the fifties. Second, I argue that not only Malleson but also her patients relied on emotions. The performance of mainly negative emotions reveals what they perceived as the ‘normal’ and sexual ‘ideal’. Sexual therapy sessions reflected the seemingly changing nature of the self towards a more emotionally aware and open one that adopted both the language of emotions and that of popular psychology to articulate his or her sexual difficulties.

 

Jesse Olszynko-Gryn et Caroline Rusterholz (dir.), « Introducton: Reproductive Politics in Twentieth Century France and Britain », Special Issue for Medical History, vol. 63, n°2 (2019)

This special issue adopts a comparative approach to the politics of reproduction in twentieth-century France and Britain. The articles investigate the flow of information, practices and tools across national boundaries and between groups of experts, activists and laypeople. Empirically grounded in medical, news media and feminist sources, as well as ethnographic fieldwork, they reveal the practical similarities that existed between countries with officially different political regimes as well as local differences within the two countries. Taken as a whole, the special issue shows that the border between France and Britain was more porous than is typically apparent from nationally-focused studies: ideas, people and devices travelled in both directions; communication strategies were always able to evade the rule of law; contraceptive practices were surprisingly similar in both countries; and religion loomed large in debates on both sides of the channel.

 

Chiara Beccalossi, « Optimizing and normalizing the population through hormone therapies in Italian science, c.1926-1950 », The British Journal for the History of Science (2020)

This essay explores how hormone treatments were used to optimize and normalize individuals under Italian Fascism. It does so by taking the activities of the Biotypological Orthogenetic Institute − an Italian eugenics and endocrinological centre founded by Nicola Pende in 1926 − as the prime example of a version of eugenics, biotypology, which was based on hormone therapies. This essay first demonstrates that Italian Fascist biopolitics was not only concerned with increasing the size of the Italian population, but also with improving its quality. It suggests that under the Italian Fascist regime hormone therapies became eugenic tools of intervention to improve the Italian race. Second, while Pende’s institute purportedly enhanced men and women, its activities show the extent to which the ‘techniques of normalization’ pursued by the Fascist regime were both systematic and invasive.

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