• First Language: Turkish

  • Subjects:  Women’s Studies

  • Journal Section: Research Article

  • Authors: Nihan BOZOK

  • Dates: 1 January 2009

This article presents that while the history of modern medicine was being written down and modern medical knowledge was being produced, women’s medication knowledge was excluded from all these processes, it was subordinated, and ignored. According to the argument of this paper, while modern medicine is shaped around the principles of objectivity, provability, rationality, and progression, women’s treatment knowledge, botanical knowledge and care knowledge, accumulated by them through oral traditions and apprenticeship since ancient days, had not been particularly proclaimed on the basis of the accusation of being incompatible with the modern criteria of medicine. Moreover, a significant portion of the medical knowledge held by women was not considered to be one of the sources of modern medicine and was systematically and consciously destroyed. A case of such an expulsion from history and practice is related to the patriarchal mainstream historiography as well as to the operating principles of modern science that are shaped by patriarchal ideology. In this article, three stories from the seventeenth century, but from diverse geographies are presented against the medical world, centered on the white, western, rational, modern male figure of medicine. The first story is the medicinal herb gardens of European witches, which were not recorded and were burned. Second story is about the Ottoman Istanbulite old women, who was making small pox vaccination and whose names are not written in the medical history, but their existence might only be learned from some letters. The third story is about the Chinchon countess’ introduction of Chinchona rees of Andean Mountains, whose bark is the basic material of quinine which is the early remedy of malaria, to Europe and evaluation of this story as something dreamy.