Baylee Staufenbiel


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Baylee holds the Annabel Horward Graduate Fellowship funded by the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution. She received bachelor’s degrees in History and Medical Anthropology & Global Health with a minor in Classical Studies from the University of Washington in 2017. Then in 2019 Baylee graduated with a master’s degree in History and a minor in Gender and Women's Studies from the University of Wyoming. Her master’s thesis was titled, Early Modern Bodies: Ancient Auctoritas and the Western Episteme.

Her dissertation advisor is Dr. Cathy McClive. The dissertation project Baylee is working on follows the emergence, dissemination, use, and disappearance of the seven-celled uterus doctrine throughout the medical field. The seven-celled uterus was the belief that a woman's uterus had seven chambers instead of one. One of the first mentions of this doctrine comes from a Pseudo-Galenic text called De Spermate; however, De Spermate itself has questionable origins. Her dissertation will ask: where De Spermate originated from when it became widely disseminated, which medical authors first began spreading the seven-cell idea, how popular the seven-cell doctrine was in elite medical circles, how popular the seven-cell uterus was in non-elite circles such as practicing midwives, when the doctrine was last used, why, how, and when it was replaced?

Her interest in this project lies in how such a large misconception regarding female anatomy endured for so long. Baylee wants to investigate what effects this untruth had on female patients, female practitioners, and how the doctrine might have altered power-knowledge dynamics among individuals practicing medicine "professionally" or not.