The Wellcome Trust for the History of Medicine at UCL in conjunction with the University of the West of England
This seminar series will build on material presented at the September 2010 Damaging the Body workshop, generating a new historiographical field pertaining to physical damage to the body in Victorian and twentieth century psychiatry. Whether as treatment or symptom of illness, the problematic discourse of the Victorian body extended well beyond the asylum, incorporating elements as diverse as the functional “self-mutilation” of hysteria (as Roy Porter has termed it), the physical effects of alcohol, opiates or syphilis and the relationship between tattooing and criminality. Moreover, in the later decades of the century, suicide, insanity and crime became strongly connected, throughout Europe and North America, to discourses on the physical and mental degeneration of the race. This complicated and often contradictory dialogue has not been simplified subsequently; the late twentieth century in particular has seen so-called “epidemics” of suicide, self-harm, binge-drinking and anorexia nervosa, repeatedly represented by the media as the all-but inescapable perils of modern society. Discourses on the damaged body thus continue to strongly influence our perceptions of ourselves, our ideas of gender, and of the relationship between the body and the mind. Through a variety of disciplines, including history, sociology, history of art, gender studies and literature, this seminar series will explore discrete elements of bodily damage in the last century and a half, opening up wider historical, sociological and psychological concerns.
Speakers will speak for 40 – 50 minutes on a topic, followed by a similar period for questions.
Monday 17th January
Hurting Bodies and Mind: Alcohol in Belgium 1848-1914
Tuesday 8th February
Attempted Suicide and British Psychiatric Research: Registers of Space and Knowledge Production
Monday 21st February
Culture-Bound Syndromes, Koro and the Emergence of ‘Cosmopolitan’ Psychiatry
Monday 14th March
Imperfect Bodies?: Clinical and Sociological Perspectives on Obesity
Monday 9th May
Tuesday 31st May
Registration for this event is not required.
Admission from 5.45pm – 6.15pm
More information can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/histmed/library/Damaging_Termtwo2010