The Definition of a Profession: The Authority of Metaphor in the History of Intelligence Testing, 1890-1930

Princeton University Press
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In the early twentieth century, a small group of psychologists built a profession upon the new social technology of intelligence testing. They imagined the human mind as quantifiable, defining their new enterprise through analogies to the better established scientific professions of medicine and engineering. Offering a fresh interpretation of this controversial movement, JoAnne Brown reveals how this group created their professional sphere by semantically linking it to historical systems of cultural authority. She maintains that at the same time psychologists participated in a form of Progressivism, which she defines as a political culture founded on the technical exploitation of human intelligence as a "new" natural resource. This book addresses the early days of the mental testing enterprise, including its introduction into the educational system. Moreover, it examines the processes of social change that construct, and are constructed by, shared and contested cultural vocabularies. Brown argues that language is an integral part of social and political experience, and its forms and uses can be specified historically. The historical and theoretical implications will interest scholars in the fields of history, politics, psychology, sociology of knowledge, history and philosophy of social science, and sociolinguistics.
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Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 17, 1992
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Psychology / History
Psychology / Movements / Psychoanalysis
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A New York Times bestseller

Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.
Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.
Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of "neurodiversity" activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

From the Hardcover edition.
Finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction

An extraordinary narrative history of autism: the riveting story of parents fighting for their children ’s civil rights; of doctors struggling to define autism; of ingenuity, self-advocacy, and profound social change.

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different. 

It is the story of women like Ruth Sullivan, who rebelled against a medical establishment that blamed cold and rejecting “refrigerator mothers” for causing autism; and of fathers who pushed scientists to dig harder for treatments. Many others played starring roles too: doctors like Leo Kanner, who pioneered our understanding of autism; lawyers like Tom Gilhool, who took the families’ battle for education to the courtroom; scientists who sparred over how to treat autism; and those with autism, like Temple Grandin, Alex Plank, and Ari Ne’eman, who explained their inner worlds and championed the philosophy of neurodiversity.

This is also a story of fierce controversies—from the question of whether there is truly an autism “epidemic,” and whether vaccines played a part in it; to scandals involving “facilitated communication,” one of many treatments that have proved to be blind alleys; to stark disagreements about whether scientists should pursue a cure for autism. There are dark turns too: we learn about experimenters feeding LSD to children with autism, or shocking them with electricity to change their behavior; and the authors reveal compelling evidence that Hans Asperger, discoverer of the syndrome named after him, participated in the Nazi program that consigned disabled children to death.

By turns intimate and panoramic, In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability.
Young adult historical fiction brings the past alive through stories of adventure, suspense, and mystery. The genre is both complex and controversial, encompassing novels that range from romance and fantasy to stark historical realism. The book examines the various approaches to young adult historical fiction and explores the issues that it has engendered.

Part One focuses on the broader issues spawned by the genre itself, including its various subgenres - the line between fiction and fact; to what degree must an author adhere to historical accuracy?; time boundaries; the diary format; the protagonist as the outsider; who is entitled to write what?; and literary concerns such as the relationship between accuracy and readability. Part Two explores issues of contemporary interest, such as race, class, gender, the immigrant experience, religion, war, and nationalism. Thought-provoking discussions of how these elements are treated in historical novels, with emphasis on how current cultural values have shaped the fiction, are presented. Finally, the question of whether novels in this genre are bound by anything other than their respective period setting is posed, and it is contended that there are features common to YA historical novels that not only set the genre apart from other YA fiction, but also contribute something unique to the larger genre.

The genesis for much classroom debate, suggestions for class discussions and writing assignments as well as sample written responses of these debates from the authors' classes are included. Teachers, librarians, instructors of young adult literature courses, and teen readers will find this an insightful analysis of YA historical fiction.
Although the United States prides itself as a nation of diversity, the country that boasts of its immigrant past also wrestles with much of its immigrant present. While conflicting attitudes about immigration are debated, newcomers—both legal and otherwise—continue to arrive on American soil. And books about the immigrant experience—aimed at both adults and youth—are published with a fair amount of frequency.

In Immigration Narrative in Young Adult Literature: Crossing Borders, Joanne Brown explores the experiences of adolescents as portrayed in young adult novels. Her study features protagonists from a wide variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds in order to provide a complete discussion of the immigration experience of young adults. In this volume, Brown analyzes young adult novels that portray various aspects of the immigrant experience—journeys to the shores of the United States, the difficulties of adjustment, and the tensions that develop within family units as a result of immigration. Brown also examines how ethnicity, religion, and country of origin affect the adolescent characters' adjustment to their new country, as well as the process of moving from social outsiders to accepted citizens.

This thoroughly researched book includes theories of adolescent development and perspectives on immigration itself applied to the literary analyses. It also offers a framework for anticipating the success of young immigrants and relates this analysis to the novels Brown discusses. With an appendix of additional novels for further reading, this book will be a useful resource for librarians and teachers of adolescent literature, as well as for students, both those born in the United States and those who are immigrants themselves.
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