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Download e-book for iPad: American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History by Jenell Johnson

By Jenell Johnson

ISBN-10: 0472119443

ISBN-13: 9780472119448

American Lobotomy experiences a large choice of representations of lobotomy to supply a rhetorical heritage of 1 of the main notorious strategies within the historical past of medication. the improvement of lobotomy in 1935 was once heralded as a “miracle therapy” that may empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. despite the fact that, simply 20 years later, lobotomists in the beginning praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has in basic terms soured in next a long time. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technological know-how fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy concept to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a robust picture of the operation that persists to at the present time. The e-book provocatively demanding situations the background of drugs, arguing that rhetorical background is important to figuring out scientific heritage. It deals a case examine of the way medication accumulates which means because it circulates in public tradition and argues for the necessity to comprehend biomedicine as a culturally positioned perform.

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Example text

I knew that” (Dully and Fleming 2007, 231). Although the information in previous case-­file entries was taken from interviews Freeman had conducted with his father and stepmother, the information about the attack was from a meeting his father had not attended. Rodney Dully later confirmed that his wife’s charge had been fabricated (247). During an interview, Howard and producer David Isay encouraged Rodney to explain why he had given his consent for the operation. Yet he would say only that Lou, who had never liked Howard, had insisted it be done.

In closing, with a nod to Donna Haraway (1988), who champions the value of “partial perspective,” I want to acknowledge the limits of this book’s vision. This is not a disclaimer, but a point of order. I do not aim to write a universal history of psychosurgery. What this book offers is a situated account of lobotomy as it intersected with American culture at different points in its history. Although this is clearly an ethnocentric approach, it is necessarily so. Lobotomy has a different rhetorical history in the United States than it does in the United Kingdom, Norway, Brazil, or Japan.

Returning to 1936, the moment when lobotomy first entered the pages of newspapers and magazines, chapter 2 traces the shifting claims about the operation’s therapeutic value in medical journalism by examining how patient case histories were used as evidence of lobotomy’s social value. As arguments began to shift from the praise of lobotomy to its condemnation in the late 1940s and early 1950s, two related shifts also took place: the subjects of case histories used to support arguments about lobotomy overwhelmingly switched gender from women to men, and the interpretation of the operation’s effects shifted from positive to negative.

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American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History by Jenell Johnson


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