Stowe, Steven M. 1946-
Stowe, Steven M. 1946-
Born 1946. Education: State University of New York, Stony Brook, Ph.D., 1979.
Office—Indiana University, History Department, Ballantine 742, 1020 E. Kirkwood, Bloomington, IN 47405-7103; fax: 812-855-3378. E-mail—[email protected]
Academic and historian. Indiana University, Bloomington, professor of history.
Intimacy and Power in the Old South: Ritual in the Lives of the Planters, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1987.
(Editor) A Southern Practice: The Diary and Autobiography of Charles A. Hentz, M.D., University Press of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 2000.
Steven M. Stowe is an academic and historian. Born in 1946, he earned a Ph.D. from the State University of New York, Stony Brook in 1979. Stowe then entered a career in academia, where he eventually became a professor of history at Indiana University in Bloomington. His research interests include American Southern regional identity in the context of social relations, cultural practices, common discussion on such issues, medicinal practices in the region, and its historical literature. Stowe also focuses on how the American South's past is comprised of both historical and imaginative events, which are equally played out in texts on and about the region throughout history. Stowe is also concerned with the American South's history of racism, regionalism, and self-consciousness. Stowe published his first book, Intimacy and Power in the Old South: Ritual in the Lives of the Planters, in 1987.
Stowe edited A Southern Practice: The Diary and Autobiography of Charles A. Hentz, M.D. in 2000. The book represents an analysis of the writings and medical records of Charles A. Hentz, a doctor living in the Florida Panhandle in the nineteenth century who treated Caucasian and African American patients, albeit in contrasting ways. John Harley Warner, reviewing the book in the Journal of Southern History, remarked that "Stowe's evocative introduction to A Southern Practice offers splendid insight into both the practice of medicine and the practice of diary-keeping. He provides a context for situating Hentz's life and writings and teases out some of the central themes of the work." Warner concluded by calling the book "thoroughly engrossing and is edited in ways that make it a fine starting point for further scholarship."
In 2004 Stowe published Doctoring the South: Southern Physicians and Everyday Medicine in the Mid-nineteenth Century. The book covers the often shocking reality faced by physicians in the American South throughout the nineteenth century, ranging from their training to their actual practice and application. Carole Emberton, writing on H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, said that "Stowe's painstaking research uncovers the quotidian experiences of southern physicians," adding that his "reading of the doctors' clinical narratives is most impressive." Emberton found that the author's description of country orthodoxy as unique to the South was "unconvincing." However, Emberton also found the author's showcasing of the narratives' autobiographical textures to be "particularly enthralling." Emberton commented that "Stowe's presumption of southern medical distinctiveness is both right and wrong. It is clear that no sense of difference existed on the basis of medical practice alone unless one considers the work of black practitioners. Instead, it seems that the perception of southern distinctiveness, when it did appear, emanated from the level of institutional organization as medical schools intersected with the broader world of antebellum political culture." In conclusion, Emberton offered that, "as it stands, Stowe's study is too insular to sustain all that he hopes to accomplish, namely an exploration of southern identity. Nonetheless, readers will find his use of case narratives illuminating and a much-needed contribution to the social context of rural medicine in the South but not necessarily of the South."
Duane A. Smith, reviewing the book in the Historian, mentioned that he "preferred a little more on the Civil War years, besides the short last" part of the book. Smith summarized that "this fascinating, evocative, and thoughtful book is a significant addition to both Southern and medical history. It may not be for everybody because it requires close reading, and is not a fast-paced narrative." In a Journal of Southern History article, Cynthia D. Pitcock observed that Stowe "provides a deeply informed assessment of so-called modern medicine following the Civil War, which was based on science rather than protocol." Pitcock concluded that, "as a richly documented chronicle of medicine in the mid-nineteenth century, this book is successful and claims a high place in both social history and the history of medicine in America."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June 1, 1988, Anne Firor Scott, review of Intimacy and Power in the Old South: Ritual in the Lives of the Planters, p. 774; February 1, 2005, John S. Haller, review of Doctoring the South: Southern Physicians and Everyday Medicine in the Mid-nineteenth Century, p. 149.
American Studies, June 22, 2005, Regina Morantz-Sanchez, review of Doctoring the South, p. 181.
Bulletin of the History of Medicine, March 22, 2002, James O. Breeden, review of A Southern Practice: The Diary and Autobiography of Charles A. Hentz, M.D., p. 173.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April 1, 2005, R.D. Arcari, review of Doctoring the South, p. 1433.
Historian, March 22, 2006, Duane A. Smith, review of Doctoring the South, p. 168.
Journal of American History, June 1, 1988, Joan E. Cashin, review of Intimacy and Power in the Old South, p. 256; December 1, 2005, Anthony Cavender, review of Doctoring the South, p. 976.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, September 22, 1988, review of Intimacy and Power in the Old South, p. 350; September 22, 2006, Michael A. Flannery, review of Doctoring the South, p. 308.
Journal of Southern History, August 1, 1988, review of Intimacy and Power in the Old South, p. 496; August 1, 2002, John Harley Warner, review of A Southern Practice, p. 691; November 1, 2005, Cynthia D. Pitcock, review of Doctoring the South, p. 891.
Reviews in American History, June 1, 2005, Peter S. Carmichael, review of Doctoring the South, p. 197.
Virginia Quarterly Review, September 22, 1987, review of Intimacy and Power in the Old South, p. 116.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (March 1, 2006), Carole Emberton, review of Doctoring the South.
Indiana University Bloomington, History Department Web site,http://www.indiana.edu/~histweb/ (May 13, 2008), author profile.