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Bianca Premo
Florida International University Board of Trustees (Miami, FL 33199-2516)
The Smallest Subject: History, Science and Peru's Youngest Mother in the World

Research and writing leading to a book on the popular and scientific media coverage of Lina Medina, the youngest mother in the world, in mid-twentieth century Peru.

In 1939, Lina Medina, from a desert pueblo in the foothills of the Andes, delivered a healthy baby boy in Lima, Peru. She was five years old. The Smallest Subject is the first scholarly study of the girl still known as the youngest mother in the world. But this is not a simple history of Lina Medina. Sensitive to how she was objectified as well as protected by medical experts, state officials, curiosity-seekers and the press, The Smallest Subject focuses precisely on that protection by means of objectification. Drawing from a wide range of sources including the popular and medical press, oral interviews, state and charitable institutional records, medical studies of precocious puberty and international conventions concerting female adolescence, the book shows how Lina’s young, non-white body was a repository for the development of contradictory modern ethical standards concerning research with vulnerable subjects.

Project fields:
History of Science; History, Other; Latin American History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 4/30/2022