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The King’s Midwives: The 1764 Midwifery Expedition to Saint Domingue and Why It Failed

The King’s Midwives: The 1764 Midwifery Expedition to Saint Domingue and Why It Failed ARTICLES The King's Midwives: The 1764 Midwifery *edition to Saint Domingue and Why It Failed KAROL KOVAWV~CH WEAVER Purdue University In 1764, the French ministry sent a group of trained and licensed French midwives to Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti), a French colony on the western half of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean.' The French state empowered these women m practice midwifery in Saint Domingue in order to improve the birth rate, but the midwives encountered opposition from coIonial medical practitioners. Leading colonial physicians criticized the midwives for their lrse of birrhing practices unsuitable to the dirnate and people of Saint Domingue. They asserted that the midwives, who had been trained in France, knew nothing of the dangerous diws of the island environment or the uniqueness of the colonial body. By invoking a distinctive colonial medicaI identity and emphasizing amptable professional mores, the medical men of Saint Domingue fought against the 1764 midwifery expedition and doomed it to failure, Midwifery has been a popular topic for historians of gender and of medicine. We know a great deal about the history of midwifery in France as a resulr of the efforrs of scholars like Jacques GClis and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

The King’s Midwives: The 1764 Midwifery Expedition to Saint Domingue and Why It Failed

Nursing History Review , Volume 13 (1): 17 – Jan 1, 2005

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.13.1.5
Publisher site
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Abstract

ARTICLES The King's Midwives: The 1764 Midwifery *edition to Saint Domingue and Why It Failed KAROL KOVAWV~CH WEAVER Purdue University In 1764, the French ministry sent a group of trained and licensed French midwives to Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti), a French colony on the western half of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean.' The French state empowered these women m practice midwifery in Saint Domingue in order to improve the birth rate, but the midwives encountered opposition from coIonial medical practitioners. Leading colonial physicians criticized the midwives for their lrse of birrhing practices unsuitable to the dirnate and people of Saint Domingue. They asserted that the midwives, who had been trained in France, knew nothing of the dangerous diws of the island environment or the uniqueness of the colonial body. By invoking a distinctive colonial medicaI identity and emphasizing amptable professional mores, the medical men of Saint Domingue fought against the 1764 midwifery expedition and doomed it to failure, Midwifery has been a popular topic for historians of gender and of medicine. We know a great deal about the history of midwifery in France as a resulr of the efforrs of scholars like Jacques GClis and

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 2005

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