Paola Uparella | CEHIC | October 30, 2018

On October 30th, I was invited to present the conference “Gaze and Genitality: the Discoveries of the Vagina” at the Centre d’Història de la Ciència (CEHIC), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The lecture focused on the colonial emergence of the visual regimes of the female body in medicine, literature and art. These regimes, or what I call the colonial gyneco-scopic regimes, reduced the female body to the vagina and uterus and identified it with the shame (vergüenza) and concealment. By examining a series of colonial, ethnographic, anatomical and artistic images, I explained how the paradoxical un-covering/discovering (des-cubrir) of the female body in the Early Modernity became later in to the Modern gyneco-scopic regime that made the female genitalia ultra-visible and intelligible. After the presentation, I had the opportunity to discuss with PhD students from different programs in the Humanities and Science (Medicine, History, Philosophy, Anthropology) on the historical, material and symbolic violence implicit in medical and artistic representations of the female genitals. This research is part of my dissertation “Gaze, Power and Genitality: Colonial Bodies and the Visual Engendering of Gender” directed by Carlos A. Jáuregui. The conference was organized by Joel Piqué from the Fundació Hospital d’Olot i Comarcal de la Garrotxa, CEHIC, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Faber.