Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226544809 Will Publish October 2021
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9780226544779 Will Publish October 2021
E-book $26.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226807072 Will Publish October 2021

The Maternal Imprint

The Contested Science of Maternal-Fetal Effects

Sarah S. Richardson

The Maternal Imprint

Sarah S. Richardson

376 pages | 22 halftones, 2 tables | 6 x 9
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9780226544809 Will Publish October 2021
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9780226544779 Will Publish October 2021
E-book $26.00 ISBN: 9780226807072 Will Publish October 2021
Leading gender and science scholar Sarah S. Richardson charts the untold history of the idea that a woman’s health and behavior during pregnancy can have long-term effects on her descendants’ health and welfare.

The idea that a woman may leave a biological trace on her gestating offspring has long been a commonplace folk intuition and a matter of scientific intrigue, but the form of that idea—and its staggering implications for maternal well-being and reproductive autonomy—has changed dramatically over time. Beginning with the advent of modern genetics at the turn of the twentieth century, biomedical scientists dismissed any notion that a mother—except in cases of extreme deprivation or injury—could alter her offspring’s traits. Consensus asserted that a child’s fate was set by a combination of its genes and post-birth upbringing.  

Over the last fifty years, however, this consensus was dismantled, and today, research on the intrauterine environment and its effects on the fetus is emerging as a robust program of study in medicine, public health, psychology, evolutionary biology, and genomics. Collectively, these sciences argue that a woman’s experiences, behaviors, and physiology can have life-altering effects on offspring development. Tracing a genealogy of ideas about heredity and maternal-fetal effects, The Maternal Imprint offers a critical analysis of conceptual and ethical issues provoked by the striking rise of epigenetics and fetal origins science in postgenomic biology today.
Contents
1. Introduction: The Maternal Imprint
2. Sex Equality in Heredity
3. Prenatal Culture
4. Germ Plasm Hygiene
5. Maternal Effects
6. Race, Birth Weight, and the Biosocial Body
7. Fetal Programming
8. It’s the Mother!
9. Epilogue: Gender and Heredity in the Postgenomic Moment
Acknowledgments
Notes
References
Index
 
Review Quotes
Rayna Rapp, New York University
"A rich, elegantly argued analysis of the long history of scientific and popular thinking about 'maternal effects' on the fetuses that women gestate, full of well-articulated plunges into the archives of scientific texts and journals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This is an important, beautifully researched, and well-written book by an author whose prior works have literally changed their fields."
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