• Monday Series: Objects of Philosophical Discourse: Deafness and Language in the 1600s

    Welcome to yet another edition of this blog’s Monday Series. This series examines how philosophical interest in universal language amongst the early members of the Royal Society of London shaped both philosophical and social perceptions of deafness during the seventeenth century.   INTRODUCTION The seventeenth century saw a tremendous surge in British publications examining deafness… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: “In the Guise of a Friend” V

    Conclusions: A Debt to Alexander the Aggressor? The deaf community was never at ease with Bell’s eugenics attempts for normalization. When the ABA’s Committee on Eugenics drafted a bill limiting marriage between “undesirables,” the deaf fought back. At his presidential address to the National Association of the Deaf, George Veditz declared that “[i]t is evident… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: “In the Guise of a Friend” IV

    Regulation not Legislation: Avoiding “14 Million Sterilized” Robert Bruce states that as “a student of heredity, Bell could not resist moving beyond statistics to experimentation.”[1] Sheep breeding and heredity experiments on white cats fuelled Bell’s wistful ambition to be an active, publishing and professional scientist. Word of Bell’s breeding experiments eventually reached Charles Benedict Davenport,… Continue Reading

  • (Bleated) Monday Series: A Disease With No Remedy VI

    The British physicians as well, discussed the nature of hereditary transmission of phthisis, loosely gathering into opposing camps of solidists and humoralists.[1] Although the Dutch Hermann Boerhaave had already classified disorders either as congenital or connate, medical men in Britain who were interested in hereditary transmission debated on the possible causal routes of diseases in… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: A Disease with No Remedy V

    By the end of the eighteenth century, many medical men had written exhaustively on the hereditary predisposition to phthisis, implementing medical hereditarianism as a social recourse for advocating social distances between elements of society. Historian Sean Quinlan argues that between 1748 and 1790, heredity in France gave doctors an idiom for diagnosis in light of… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: A Disease with No Remedy IV

    Dear Reader, My apologies for the lack of posts and the lateness of this one. Apparently I’ve been so tired I failed to notice I didn’t schedule the Monday Series post properly. As always, thank you for reading. -Jai A fascinating perspective for the popularity of the hereditary theory of phthisis is given by historian… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: A Disease with no Remedy III

    In his A Treatise on the Consumption of the Lungs (1722), Edward Barry describes the influence of environmental stimuli upon an inherited malady such as consumption: “This constitution to some is natural and hereditary; but in many others be acquired, by the intemperate use of a hot, aromatic, saline, or animal Diet, or by previous… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: A Disease with no Remedy II

          The word “tuberculosis” was not introduced as a classification term until 1834 by the German physician Johann Lukas Schönlein (1793-1864),[1] though it was first used by the British physician Richard Morton (1637-1698) in 1689. Commonly named by the medical community as “phthisis,” or “consumption,” signifying the wasting characteristics of the chronic disease,… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: A Disease with no Remedy I

    Introduction: Confronting Hereditary Phthisis, 1714-1830 “What is then to be done? Has Nature been so unkind, particularly to the inhabitants of this island, as to afflict us with a disease for which there is no remedy?” -Philip Stern, Medical Advice to the Consumptive and Asthmatic People of England, 1776. The history of tuberculosis has often… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: The Criminalized Body V

    Body-Snatching and the Criminalized Body: A Badge of a Marginalized Condition O Poverty! thou art the unpardonable offence… Thou hast neither rights, charters, immunities nor liberties![1] One of the major public conflicts with dissection stemmed from their fears of body-snatching. The shallow graves of the poor[2] were prime targets for body snatches and the ongoing… Continue Reading