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Distributed for University of Wales Press

Hermaphroditism, Medical Science and Sexual Identity in Spain, 1850-1960

How did Spanish doctors conceptualize persons believed to be a mix of the male and female genders during the period of 1850–1960? Such persons disrupted gendered and sexual givens, and from a legal and medical standpoint, required examination and determination according to their true sex in order to permit marriage, inheritance, and a “normal” social life. This volume charts the changing medical discourse on the “hermaphrodite” or “intersex” persons as the interrelationship between the body, biological sex, and gender was constantly reassessed and rewritten, making this the first major study of Spanish hermaphroditism for the period and an important contribution to the growing interest in this subject worldwide.

288 pages | 5 1/2 x 9 1/2 | © 2009


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“This is a fascinating exploration of the changing shapes of hermaphroditism and intersexuality in Spain’s journey through modernity, accessible to readers a cross a wide range of interests and disciplines. Lucidly and knowledgeably written, the book takes the reader through a story of shifting categories, intense personal struggles, the complex and endlessly revealing processes of ‘sex determination’ by specialists and the construction of discourses, social and professional. Alive to the linkages between science, medicine, society, and culture, it gradually reveals a distinctive dialogue between Spanish and international scientific ideas about sex, gender, and the body. Patients, experts, and institutions alike are given a voice: some of the famous—such as Gregorio Marañón—are listened to with renewed interest and wariness of currently accepted views on them: others are heard and their experiences assessed for the first time here.”

Chris Perriam, Manchester University

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Foreword


Chapter 1: Introduction: Male, Female or In-Between? Toward a History of the Science of ‘Hermaphroditism’ in Spain, 1850-1960

Chapter 2: From Sex as Social Status to Biological Sex

Chapter 3: Between Diagnoses: Hermaproditism, Hypospadias and Pseudo-hermaphroditism, 1870-1905

Chapter 4: Gonads, Hormones and Marañón’s Theory of Intersexuality, 1905-1930

Chapter 5: From True Sex to Sex as Simulacrum

Chapter 6: Conclusions



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