The Enlightenment was a time when people began to take stock of their intrinsic worth as individuals. Of course, slaves were still property, servants and apprentices were indentured, daughters "belonged" to fathers and brothers, wives to husbands and paupers were tethered to their parish. But change was in the air as increased population, migration and urbanization began to reshape both national and personal identity.
The birth of modern society in the Enlightenment demanded a rethinking of the human body in all its forms, from conception to death and beyond. The history of midwives, medics, colonialists, cross-dressers, corpses, vampires, witches, beggars, beauties, body-snatchers, incest and immaculate conceptions - all reveal how the body changed in this age of turbulence and transition.