This compelling book uses 103 illustrations to argue that modes of visualizing science have profoundly determined "fetal politics" and the contemporary abortion debates. With its close interplay of visual and verbal texts, it traces both the history of fetal images from the sixteenth century onward (including the classic Life magazine photographs by Lennart Nilsson from 1965) and the consequences of how obstetrical and embryological knowledge was represented over time in Europe - to both specialists and the public - as medical knowledge came to be produced and understood through anatomical observation. Fetal Positions demonstrates the importance of history for framing and understanding contemporary political issues, and, by historicizing heterosexuality and reproduction, it contributes to the emerging study of the history of sexuality.
Newman (English and comparative literature, Brown U.) traces how concepts of the placement and position of the human fetus has been shaped by both the modes of visualizing science and political and social attitudes about women's bodies. She presents and discusses 103 black-and-white illustrations ranging from the 16th century through the controversial Life Magazine images in 1965 to current anti-abortion and scientific images. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)