Recently, on academia.edu …

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Dear Professor Rolker:
I have seen on internet that you have published a review about our book „Sex, identity and hermaphrodites in Iberia (1500-1800)“, in the Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, 42 (2015), 4, p. 758. It would be possible to have a copy of your text? I am very grateful to you in every case; your works about hermaphroditism in Medieval and Ancient time are really interesting.
Yours sincerely
Francisco Vázquez García
3 days ago
 
Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Excuse me, my email is:
francisco.vazquez@uca.es
Thank you very much
Best regards
Francisco Vázquez
3 days ago
 
Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker

Dear colleague,
thanks for your kind message. For a short version of the review (in German), see here
https://intersex.hypotheses.org/1033
and I will upload the full (print) version at academia.edu in the next days. As you might have seen already, I do not fully agree with all aspects of your book, but enjoyed reading it a lot and would be very interested to discusse these issues with you. Also, you might be interested to learn that a colleague of mine found another case of hermaphroditism in 18th c. Spain on which he will publish soon on my blog.
Yours sincerely,
Christof Rolker
about 12 hours ago
 
Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Thanks you very much. I really should appreciate your criticism. I am very interested in this 18th c. Spanish case; we are exploring a new (Spanish) edition of our book, so these informations are of primary interest for us
Yours sincerely
Francisco Vázquez
about 10 hours ago
 
Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker

That is very interesting to hear! The case mentioned is, to judge from the note my colleague (Enrique Corredera-Nilsson), not very spectacular – that is, hermaphroditism is stated as a fact but not made a scandal or what. This in itself is interesting, however. He will publish a fuller account soon. In general, I’d be very happy if the blog contributed to the exchange between people working in the field – classicists and sociologists, legal historians and specialists in medieval alchemy, and so on. So, if you would like to use the blog, I’d be happy to provide an account.
about 9 hours ago
 
Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Thank you very much. The blog is excellent; I just have incorporated the link to my favourites. I will speak with a close friend of mine, teacher of German at my University. I understand the text in general, but not in detail a I am very interested in your criticism. When we wrote the book, we have no notice of Helen King’s book about Laqueur’s model. Obviously, Helen King’s criticism of Laqueur forces us tu reconsider some questions.
Yours sincerely
Francisco
about 9 hours ago
 
Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker

Sorry you have to struggle with German (an horrible language to learn). My basic criticism can be summarized as follows:

1) Laqueur’s model is more flawed than you thought – hence, some of your claims on the continuity of the model are not well founded. For example, the oath for which you quote Tómas Sánchez was well established already in the Middle Ages, while some ‚Galenic‘ concepts were indeed novel around 1500. (You see, I’m speaking as a medievalist here; and I think we do agree that the scholarly consensus is significantly more critical of Laqueur than it was when you wrote the book.)
2) Not so much scholarly consensus, but my own observations make me doubt the idea that people were „accused of hermaphroditism“. It may be true that ambigious anatomy could get you into trouble, esp in the 16th century; but often it would not, and strikingly, „hermaphroditism“ could be used in the Middle Ages and in early modern times as a defence strategy. Your books provides excellent examples of how people improved their situation if they sucessfully claimed to be hermaphrodites; as a consequence, I would argue, one should not even speak of „accusations of hermaphroditism“. Even if hermaphrodites had been at a special risk of being accused of sodomy (something I seriously doubt, but I am ready to change my mind in the light of new evidence), as a legal historian I would stress that there simply was no legal basis for such accusations.

Needless to say, I appreciate your book despite my disagreement on certain aspects.  Perhaps I should also take the opportunity to stress what I really like about your books: while scholars like me tend to focus on this or that primary source, you really do combine general arguments and ideas (about state, society, bodies) with historical narrative. We need much more of this kind of historical enquiry.

Best wishes,
Christof

about 8 hours ago
 
Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Thanks you for summarizing your criticism. It’s truth what you say about the Galenic concepts. Yes we have read Marchetti’s book „L’invenzione della bisessualità“, where he explains all the procedure of the oath in Ulpiano, etc. Our goal was to present the reception of this technique in the Spanish Early Modern times, so in this context we use Tomás Sánchez. I’m agree with you: there were not accusations of hermaphroditism, this is clear. But I don’t know exactly where we speak about such accusations; what we say is that „hermaphroditism“, in some contexts, had negative meanings. In Matheu Sanz cases, there are accusations to hermaphrodites, not because they were hermaphrodites, but for sodomy, for using the sexual act in contradiction with the assigned sex.
I really apreciate your criticism because it helps us to improve our future Spanish edition. At the same time, you are truly one of the best experts in this matter, so your review is an excellent gift for us.
Best whishes
Francisco
about 6 hours ago
 
Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker

Dear Francisco (if I may),

I still consider myself quite a newby to the field, so thanks for the flattering compliment.

More importantly, I am well aware that the focus of your book was neither legal history nor medieval history, so I am all the more happy that you see my criticism (which is mainly that of a medievalist-cum-legal historian) as a contribution to an ongoing debate. We all write so many reviews, and rarely they start a discussion!

Even more importantly, I have to admit that I did understand your book as speaking (as Fouculat and many others had done) of ‚accusations of hermaphroditism‘; checking my notes, I have to admit that the occurences of the expression I noted (as on p. 102) are a paraphrase of older literature, and not an assertion that hermaphrodites were persecuted for being hermaphrodites. I may have been carried away by a perceived lack of criticism of Foucault’s assertions in that direction. My apologies if I misrepresented your argument.

May I repeat my invitation to the blog – it has some readers now (3,000 unique visirtors a month), and both contributions and comments are very welcome. In fact, we could very directly contiune our discussion there; it would also be a good opportunity to correct my misrepresentation of your argument in public.

best wishes,

Christof

about 5 hours ago
 
Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Francisco Vazquez Garcia

Dear Christof,
I am very happt with this discussion, even if my writen English is very limited. When Richard and me write together, he translated my part to English, and in the Spanish version, I make the translation of his text. I have commented with him your review and the discussion after too. Foucault misunderstood the legal treatement of hermaphrodites; effectively he thought that hermaphrodites were persecuted by law (and forced to make a choice in every case, not only with „perfect hermaphrodites“), but this is a mistake. On the other hand, the book by Helen King, „The One-sex body on trial“,  was published in 2013, so it was impossible for us to read it. Probably this is the most complete criticism of Laqueur work and at the same time, King knows very well the Hippocratic Corpus and the Greek medicine in general. As you say we have to correct this part of our book.
OK, maybe we can move this discussion, the texts of this interchange to your blog. It’s perfect for me and I am very grateful to you if you can cut and paste these comments in the blog.
Best wishes,
Francisco
about 3 hours ago
 
Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker

Dear Francisco,
yes, why not copy&past all of it!
Best wishes,
Christof
 

 

Suggested citation: Christof Rolker, Recently, on academia.edu …, in Männlich-weiblich-zwischen, 17/05/2016, http://intersex.hypotheses.org/3523. Lizenz: CC BY-SA 4.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/]. Letzter Aufruf: 11/12/2017.


Christof Rolker

Prof. Dr. Christof Rolker, Historiker an der Universität Bamberg.

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Christof Rolker

Prof. Dr. Christof Rolker, Historiker an der Universität Bamberg.

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3 Antworten

  1. Helen King sagt:

    I’m very much looking forward to having the time to read this book, as the reviews are intriguing!

    Meanwhile, following my 2013 book, I’ve been spending some time on the contemporary out-workings of our views about sex and gender, and in particular blogging about the discussion in the Church of England stimulated by the issues of same-sex marriage: see my https://sharedconversations.wordpress.com

    I really don’t think people in the church understand intersex at all.

  2. Francisco Vázquez García sagt:

    Thanks you Christof
    Best Wishes

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