Paul Broca's clitoridectomy as a cure for "nymphomania": A pseudo-medical mutilation

Torture. 2019;29(2):110-112. doi: 10.7146/torture.v29i2.114013.


Paul Broca (1824-1880) is considered one of the founding fathers of modern neurology, mainly because of his major contribution to the anatomo-clinical method (Figure 1) (Sagan, 1979). He has also distinguished himself by his fascination with cranial measurements at the origin of modern physical anthropology and, unfortunately, racial theories based on cranial indices (facial angle and brain volume, mainly) (Gould, 1981).But what is less known is that Broca has been illustrated by particularly archaic and mutilating therapeutic practices, such as what is now considered to be female genital mutilation.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Female / history*
  • Circumcision, Female / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Neurology / history*
  • Torture / history*
  • Torture / legislation & jurisprudence