Punch Drunk and Dementia: A Modern History of Concussion, 1870-2012 [S-18-43]

Presenter: Stephen Casper
Location: SUNY: Maxcy 104
Classes: 1 Session 1.5 hours
Dates: Tue 3:00 PM 04/03

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The story of concussions is at once an intellectual history of medicine and, at the same time, a cultural history of violence, accidents, entertainments and litigation in the English-speaking world. It is a history of dialectics and tensions: medical knowledge and public ignorance; physical trauma and psychosomatic illness; and real suffering against supposed malingering. This lecture will follow these intersecting threads simultaneously. On one hand, it focuses on what the medical profession knew - and when. On the other hand, it follows the public’s disregard for, and denial of, the consequences of violent head injuries as well as the sources promoting public ignorance about the risks of repeated concussive injuries. This story thus follows head injuries out of nineteenth century pathological anatomy and asylum psychiatry to twenty-first-century sports medicine and neuropsychology.

Stephen Casper is an historian of medicine. He has published extensively on the history of neurology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. He is the recent author of The Neurologists: A History of a Medical Specialty in Modern Britain, c1789-2000.

Cap: 50

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