New PDF release: American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History

By Jenell Johnson

ISBN-10: 0472119443

ISBN-13: 9780472119448

American Lobotomy reports a large choice of representations of lobotomy to provide a rhetorical background of 1 of the main notorious methods within the heritage of medication. the improvement of lobotomy in 1935 used to be heralded as a “miracle healing” that might empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. besides the fact that, simply two decades later, lobotomists at the start praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has in simple terms soured in next many years. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technology fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy conception to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a robust snapshot of the operation that persists to at the present time. The booklet provocatively demanding situations the background of drugs, arguing that rhetorical heritage is essential to realizing clinical historical past. It bargains a case research of the way drugs accumulates that means because it circulates in public tradition and argues for the necessity to comprehend biomedicine as a culturally positioned perform.

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Extra resources for American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History

Sample text

Fishbein’s editorial standards were as strict as his standards for medicine—­and indeed, he even described them in similar terms. In a 1928 address commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, for instance, Fishbein outlined his editorial philosophy in detail. After lambasting some lesser medical periodicals for appealing to “the baser emotions to which doctors as well as other men occasionally succumb,” he presented a set of guiding principles for medical journal editors.

Moving throughout this fearfully designed space, Freeman remembered he also experienced “disgust” in response to the “shabby” and “untidy” bodies that approached him. If fear is an emotion that seeks to preserve boundaries, disgust is provoked by the violation of those boundaries, a reaction to the threatened dissolution of the limits between the disgusted body and something, or someone, else. As one body is disgusted by another, “it pulls away with an intense movement” (Ahmed 2004, 85). Instead of sympathy for these patients—­a pulling closer—Freeman experienced rejection—­a pulling away.

Rodney’s refusal to take responsibility for his son’s lobotomy extended to his reluctance to emotionally engage with his decision to authorize the surgery. Thinking with the Thalamus 39 During the interview, he chides Howard for “dwell[ing] on negative ideas,” explaining that he tried to remain positive about the past (Dully and Fleming 2007, 237). Undaunted, Howard pushes his father to feel something by telling him about the tremendous impact the surgery had made on his life. Also trying to provoke some emotion in Rodney, a producer hands him a picture of his twelve-­year-­old son on the day of the operation.

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American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History by Jenell Johnson


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