Identifying a Body of Evidence"
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002
In early Meiji Japan, the
pathologization of the female criminal made her an important cultural icon
in the demonization of transgression by women. A new body of medical
literature published approximately from 1875 to 1895 called "creation treatises"played
an important role in abnormalizing deviant women. This sexological
literature identified human bodies as desiring subjects in the larger circulatory
social machine and national body. But it was precisely this image
of an integrated system, for which the libidinal and reproduction functions
of the individual body are imagined as mirroring a larger universal system,
that enabled a new logic of exclusion and definition of difference.
In this paper I trace the new physical mapping of the transgressive woman
that worked to contain the imagination of female possibility in order to
illustrate how physiologically based systems of examination produced a
model of exclusion which elided the politics of hysteria surrounding female