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Book description

From contraception to cloning and pregnancy to populations, reproduction presents urgent challenges today. This field-defining history synthesizes a vast amount of scholarship to take the long view. Spanning from antiquity to the present day, the book focuses on the Mediterranean, western Europe, North America and their empires. It combines history of science, technology and medicine with social, cultural and demographic accounts. Ranging from the most intimate experiences to planetary policy, it tells new stories and revises received ideas. An international team of scholars asks how modern 'reproduction' - an abstract process of perpetuating living organisms - replaced the old 'generation' - the active making of humans and beasts, plants and even minerals. Striking illustrations invite readers to explore artefacts, from an ancient Egyptian fertility figurine to the announcement of the first test-tube baby. Authoritative and accessible, Reproduction offers students and non-specialists an essential starting point and sets fresh agendas for research.


‘A fascinating work of breath taking ambition. It is certain to become a key point of reference for scholars working in a wide range of disciplines.'

Sally Sheldon, FAcSS - University of Kent

'This ambitious and extraordinarily well-executed volume offers new and rich insights into the history of reproduction from the ancient world to the modern period. Drawing on the best scholarship, it provides a compendium, a stimulating reframing of the field, and a state-of-the-art guide to further research.'

Hilary Marland - University of Warwick

‘This is the most ambitious and comprehensive treatise on reproduction that has ever been attempted within the compass of a single volume. It is challenging to think of a perspective that has not been addressed. The impressive range of contributions and illustrations should guarantee the book a very wide appeal.'

Sir Richard Gardner, FRS - Emeritus Royal Society Research Professor

‘A milestone in reproduction studies, this magnum opus will be invaluable to scholars from multiple disciplines as both resource and inspiration for ambitious projects and innovative approaches. At once dense and refreshing, it mobilizes efforts of superb scholars to bring us up-to-date historically, transnationally and transculturally, powerfully demonstrating the centrality of reproduction in human life.'

Adele E. Clarke - Professor Emerita of Sociology and History of Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco

'This remarkably wide-ranging and lavishly illustrated history takes in everything from 'phallic fertility in the Ancient Near East and Egypt' and 'women and doctors in Ancient Greece' to population in an era of climate change, artificial fertilisation and globalisation. Among countless other topics, the dozens of contributors explore astrological medicine; our developing understanding of both 'generation' and 'reproduction'; ignorance and infertility; hormones, prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy testing with frogs; even Aristotle’s strange theory that hyenas are hermaphrodite. The result is a stunning and scholarly overview of one of the central aspects of human life.'

Source: Times Higher Education

'… [a] studious, insightful brainstorm of research and revelation into an often sensitive topic. Highly recommended, especially for college and university library World History and Social Issues collections.'

Source: Library Bookwatch

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Page 1 of 3

  • Introduction
    pp 1-2
  • 2 - Phallic Fertility in the Ancient Near East and Egypt
    pp 25-38

Page 1 of 3


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