Inventing the Feeble Mind

Medicine and Society

Book 6
Univ of California Press
2
Free sample

James W. Trent uses public documents, private letters, investigative reports, and rare photographs to explore our changing perceptions of mental retardation over the past 150 years. He contends that the economic vulnerability of mentally retarded people (and their families), more than the claims made for their intellectual or social limitations, has determined their institutional treatment.
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About the author

James W. Trent, Jr. is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Work at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Mar 16, 1994
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Pages
356
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ISBN
9780520917279
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the short, turbulent history of AIDS research and treatment, the boundaries between scientist insiders and lay outsiders have been crisscrossed to a degree never before seen in medical history. Steven Epstein's astute and readable investigation focuses on the critical question of "how certainty is constructed or deconstructed," leading us through the views of medical researchers, activists, policy makers, and others to discover how knowledge about AIDS emerges out of what he calls "credibility struggles."

Epstein shows the extent to which AIDS research has been a social and political phenomenon and how the AIDS movement has transformed biomedical research practices through its capacity to garner credibility by novel strategies. Epstein finds that nonscientist AIDS activists have gained enough of a voice in the scientific world to shape NIH–sponsored research to a remarkable extent. Because of the blurring of roles and responsibilities, the production of biomedical knowledge about AIDS does not, he says, follow the pathways common to science; indeed, AIDS research can only be understood as a field that is unusually broad, public, and contested. He concludes by analyzing recent moves to democratize biomedicine, arguing that although AIDS activists have set the stage for new challenges to scientific authority, all social movements that seek to democratize expertise face unusual difficulties.

Avoiding polemics and accusations, Epstein provides a benchmark account of the AIDS epidemic to date, one that will be as useful to activists, policy makers, and general readers as to sociologists, physicians, and scientists.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
The problem of how to treat the mentally handicapped attracted much attention from American reformers in the first half of the twentieth century. In this book, Steven Noll traces the history and development of institutions for the 'feeble-minded' in the South between 1900 and 1940. He examines the influences of gender, race, and class in the institutionalization process and relates policies in the South to those in the North and Midwest, regions that had established similar institutions much earlier. At the center of the story is the debate between the humanitarians, who advocated institutionalization as a way of protecting and ministering to the mentally deficient, and public policy adherents, who were primarily interested in controlling and isolating perceived deviants. According to Noll, these conflicting ideologies meant that most southern institutions were founded without a clear mission or an understanding of their relationship to southern society at large. Noll creates a vivid portrait of life and work within institutions throughout the South and the impact of institutionalization on patients and their families. He also examines the composition of the population labeled feeble-minded and demonstrates a relationship between demographic variables and institutional placement, including their effect on the determination of a patient's degree of disability.

Originally published in 1995.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Eric Caplan's fascinating exploration of Victorian culture in the United States shatters the myth of Freud's seminal role in the creation of American psychotherapy. Resurrecting the long-buried "prehistory" of American mental therapeutics, Mind Games tells the remarkable story of how a widely assorted group of actors—none of them hailing from Vienna or from any other European city—compelled a reluctant medical profession to accept a new role for the mind in medicine. By the time Freud first set foot on American soil in 1909, as Caplan demonstrates, psychotherapy was already integrally woven into the fabric of American culture and medicine.

What came to be known as psychotherapy emerged in the face of considerable opposition, much—indeed most—of which was generated by the medical profession itself. Caplan examines the contentious interplay within the American medical community, as well as between American physicians and their lay rivals, who included faith-healers, mind-curists, Christian Scientists, and Protestant ministers. These early practitioners of alternative medicine ultimately laid the groundwork for a distinctive and much heralded American type of psychotherapy. Its grudging acceptance by both medical elites and rank and file physicians signified their understanding that reliance on physical therapies to treat nervous and mental symptoms compromised their capacity to treat—and compete—effectively in a rapidly expanding mental-medical marketplace. Mind Games shows how psychotherapy came to occupy its central position in mainstream American culture.
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