When doctors discovered that gonorrhea affected all classes of girls back in the late 19th Century, they dismissed any evidence about the transmission of the disease from fathers to daughters, and instead blamed --you guessed it-- women for the spread of the disease. It was poor housekeeping, not daddy dearest, accounting for the STD/ Author Lynn Sacco, assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Tennessee wrote "Unspeakable: Father - Daughter Incest in American History," to explore the role of medicine and society in detecting and dealing wiht incest historically, and she reseearched how the experts threw scientific knowledge to the winds rather than face the issue of father- daughter incest. Easier to blame the mothers than to face a harsh reality.
Sacco has documented medical history and social attitudes about incest and sex crimes over the last two hundred years and how the problem was ignored in order to sustain an image of the ideal white family and paternal authority.
Prof. Sacco earned degrees in journalism and English from Marquette University, a lwa degree from John Marshall Law School and practiced law for several years in Chicago. She went on to get a doctorate in history from the University of Southern Californie, and has been with the University of Tennessee history department since 2004.
Join us as we talk about the history if incest, medicine, feminism, society and sexuality in America.
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