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Perspectives on Science
89 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
From the Archives — Shopping for Health: Medicine and Markets in America
If you've watch television or listened to the radio lately, you've probably been bombarded with direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. Join us as we revisit our forum from October 2018 on the interplay between medicine and advertising, capitalism and consumerism. ------- Why do we refer to patients as "consumers" in the United States? Is today's opioid crisis the result of medical consumerism run amok--of pills hawked like soap to gullible shoppers? Is picking a doctor really like choosing a new car? In this talk, historians Nancy Tomes and David Herzberg discuss when and why patients started to be called "consumers," and examine the positive and negative aspects of twentieth-century medical "consumerism." We explore a century of efforts to deliver pharmaceutical relief through properly calibrated markets, and evaluate the risks (and often-misunderstood benefits) of governing addictive drugs as consumer goods. Find this presentation and further resources on the Consortium's website at: www.chstm.org/video/57
92 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
From the Archives — Immortal Life: The Promises and Perils of Biobanking and the Genetic Archive
Direct-to-consumer genetic testing has been in the news this week with the recent IPO of 23andMe. Thus, we are revisiting our forum from September 2017 on biobanking, genetics, and the competing interests of individuals, businesses, and society in the collection and use of genetic samples. ------- Are we now approaching a time when we could all live, at least in freezers, forever? Modern collection and storage of biological samples make possible a kind of "immortality" for anyone who has ever had a saliva sample frozen for genealogical testing or a blood sample stored in medical collections. New technologies, like CRISPR for gene editing, expand possible future uses of biological materials stored around the world. The story of Henrietta Lacks, popularized in a book by Rebecca Skloot and an HBO special starring Oprah Winfrey, illustrates the ways that a single person's cells and tissues can take on lives of their own as research material. In 1953, just before her death, Lacks's cancer cells yielded the oldest and most common human cell line still used in research. There has been significant public interest in her remarkable story, but the "immortality" of people like Henrietta Lacks raises pressing questions for all of us. Who owns and controls bodily materials extracted from research subjects and patients? Who can profit from the cells and genes that make us who we are? How do we weigh the value of personal privacy and an individual’s sense of self against the potential for medical progress? How do imbalances of wealth and power influence questions of consent, exploitation, and identity for people who provide biological materials? These questions framed a public forum organized by the Consortium and hosted by the American Philosophical Society on September 28, 2017. Find this presentation and further resources on the Consortium's website at: www.chstm.org/video/51
68 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Sciences Of The Mind with Courtney Thompson and Alicia Puglionesi
Held in partnership with the American Philosophical Society, this discussion brings together historians Courtney Thompson and Alicia Puglionesi to discuss the fascinating world of the mind sciences in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time period, the human mind captured the imagination of the American public. Efforts to reveal the subconscious and to understand mental physiology inspired the creation of new technologies, modes of experimentation, and collaborations that aspired to make visible the inner workings of the brain. These developments had a profound impact on the production of scientific and medical expertise that continues to influence conceptions of race, gender, and mental illness in the present. Dr. Thompson focuses on the history of phrenology, exploring its connection to popular and elite theories of criminality. As she explains both in her presentation and in her book An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America, phrenology constructed scientific ways of identifying, understanding, and analyzing criminals and their actions - ways which often recruited and justified folk notions and stereotypes of what criminals looked like and how they acted. Dr. Puglionesi recounts how and why psychologists and others interested in the mind investigated seances, clairvoyance, and telepathy in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although some researchers were interested in debunking frauds and con artists, most were interested in reconciling the mind sciences with the supernormal. Dr. Puglionesi's book, Common Phantoms: An American History of Psychic Science, tells this history and highlights the ways in which psychical research troubled the boundaries of science and its relationship to democracy and popular ways of experiencing the world. To cite this content, please use footnote: "Sciences of the Mind," Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, accessed Month Day, Year, https://www.chstm.org/video/121.
88 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
From the Archives — Trust in Science: Vaccines
In light of the current global vaccination campaign against COVID-19 and the struggles to increase vaccine acceptance and ensure vaccine compliance, we revisit our Trust in Science: Vaccines forum from January 2019. What are the historical roots of resistance to vaccination? What is the data about contemporary attitudes? How do these attitudes relate to changing social, economic and political contexts? How do these issues play out in the relationship between a doctor and a patient? Listen to experts share their research and experience on these questions, and lead our discussion. "Trust in Science: Vaccines" is the first event in a series inspired by Perceptions of Science in America, a report from the Public Face of Science Initiative at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
94 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Behind the Scenes: Black Holes | The Edge of All We Know
Black Holes | The Edge of All We Know is available now on Netflix, or go to https://www.blackholefilm.com and click on the Watch button at the top for more options. What can black holes teach us about the boundaries of knowledge? These holes in spacetime are the darkest objects and the brightest—the simplest and the most complex. With unprecedented access, Black Holes | The Edge of All We Know follows two powerhouse collaborations. Stephen Hawking anchors one, striving to show that black holes do not annihilate the past. Another group, working in the world’s highest altitude observatories, creates an earth-sized telescope to capture the first-ever image of a black hole. Interwoven with other dimensions of exploring black holes, these stories bring us to the pinnacle of humanity’s quest to understand the universe. In the video above, historians of science Lorraine Daston and Simon Schaffer join Peter Galison for a roundtable discussion about the film, its scientific, philosophical and artistic content, and the choices Peter made as director. Afterwards, Peter answers questions about the film from friends of the Consortium. To cite this content, please use footnote: "Behind the Scenes: Black Holes | The Edge of All We Know," Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, accessed Month Day, Year, https://www.chstm.org/video/120.
22 minutes | May 27, 2021
Abe Gibson — Feral Animals in the American South
In this episode of Perspectives, we speak with Abraham Gibson, author of Feral Animals in the American South: An Evolutionary History. In his book, Abe Gibson tells the broader social and environmental history of the Southern United States by focusing on the domestication and subsequent ferality of dogs, horses, and pigs over the past three hundred years. Gibson discusses the co-evolution of humans and domesticated animals both in ancient history and the more recent history of the United States, and highlights how and why the open range in the U.S. South lasted longer than in other parts of the United States. Dr. Gibson uses the differential experiences of feral horses, dogs, and pigs to explore broader themes of commerce, sport, environment, and politics in Southern history from the colonial to the modern era. This podcast features a number of questions for Dr. Gibson from Simon Joseph, a former staff member of the Consortium who currently works in the offices of the American Philosophical Society. Abraham Gibson was a 2014-2015 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Abraham Gibson is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He teaches courses on the history of science, technology, engineering, medicine, and the environment, and his research examines topics such as the domestication of animals, the evolution of cooperation, and the relationship between technology and society. To cite this podcast, please use footnote: Abraham Gibson, interview, Perspectives, Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, April 30, 2021, https://www.chstm.org/video/119.
29 minutes | May 12, 2021
From the Archives — Kavita Sivaramakrishnan on COVID-19
In light of India's ongoing struggle with COVID-19 and its devastating impacts, we revisit our conversation with Kavita Sivaramakrishnan from June 30, 2020. Dr. Sivaramakrishnan discusses public engagement and political history in the context of the COVID-19 crisis in India. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on COVID-19 at: www.chstm.org/video/74
29 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
"Overlooked Images of Medicine" in America's New Mass Media of the Late 19th Century
To view Professor Hansen's images and for more resources on this topic, please visit: https://www.chstm.org/video/118. Join Professor Bert Hansen as he discusses a number of popular images of American medicine from the late nineteenth century that he has donated to Yale's Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. In this presentation, Professor Hansen shows us what medicine looked like and how it was experienced by the public at that time. Professor Hansen's images use medicine to satirize the politics of the day, often showing politicians, political parties or mascots as sickly and in need of care. These illustrations depict the changing character of medicine and how it was interpreted by journalists, cartoonists, and the reading public in the late nineteenth century. Dr. Hansen's presentation, using images he has collected over decades and which are now part of The Bert Hansen Collection at Yale's Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, reveals the transformation of medicine and its evolving public reception through lively and fascinating mass media cartoons and illustrations. Bert Hansen has been teaching the history of science and medicine, after earning his PhD from Princeton University in 1974, at Binghamton University, the University of Toronto, New York University, and Baruch College of the City University of New York. He has published two books and numerous articles about medical and scientific developments from the 14th century through the 20th and about the imagery and popular attitudes that surround them. He has also written about gay history. His most recent scholarship examines the significance of Louis Pasteur's engagement with the fine arts. For more, see https://berthansen.com.
38 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Stephen Kenny on Race and Science
Stephen Kenny scrutinizes the career of surgeon Rudolph Matas, the so-called "father of vascular surgery." Kenny demonstrates how his life and work must be understood in the context of segregation in the U.S. South and the racialized medicine that was practiced there in the 19th and 20th centuries. He also highlights the ways in which Matas used medical photography to legitimate an ideologically driven racialized research agenda. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on "Race Science" and Scientific Racism at: www.chstm.org/video/101
33 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
Wendy Gonaver — The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry
In this episode of Perspectives, we speak with Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880. Wendy Gonaver reveals the history of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg, Virginia and its superintendent, John M. Galt. Gonaver explains the Asylum's exceptional status as the only psychiatric facility to accept both slaves and free blacks as patients and to employ slaves as attendants. Although Eastern Lunatic Asylum instituted a progressive form of "moral therapy" that reflected Enlightenment values (including doing away with mechanical restraints and corporal punishment), it nevertheless reflected and upheld the institution of slavery and, later, the racially discriminatory society of the antebellum South. Gonaver describes how superintendent John M. Galt believed that "religious fanaticism," as manifested in the abolitionist movement, was more harmful to a person's mental health than any sort of intemperance or "insanity." Despite this fact, Galt was the only psychiatric superintendent in the South to advocate for integrated wards and both black and white attendants. Careful not to romanticize Galt or his work, Gonaver explains how his advocacy of integrated institutions led to him becoming a pioneer in the development of outpatient psychiatric care. However, after Galt's death in 1862, Eastern Lunatic Asylum became segregated like all of the other psychiatric facilities in the South. As a result, psychiatric facilities for black patients in the antebellum South came to mimic the slave plantations that had existed beforehand, leading to abuse and involuntary imprisonment, without even the pretense of adequate or humane care. Wendy Gonaver is the author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 from the College of William and Mary. She taught as an adjunct at several universities, and currently works at the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives at Chapman University. For more resources on this topic, please visit: https://www.chstm.org/video/116.
24 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Warwick Anderson on Race and Science
In this recording, historian Warwick Anderson discusses his investigations into the development of "race science" in the Global South and the fabrication of whiteness as a "strategy of authority." Warwick Anderson is the Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, and leader of the Politics, Governance and Ethics Theme with the Charles Perkins Centre. As an historian of science, medicine and public health, Dr. Anderson's work has focused on ideas about race, human difference, and citizenship in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in Australasia, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and the United States. In this episode of our podcast series on race and science, Anderson discusses the differences between how "race science" was practiced in the Global South and how it was practiced in North America and Europe. He notes that theories about race—and thus the practices of "race science"—were often more malleable and flexible in the Southern Hemisphere, as opposed to the more rigid racial typologies and hardline eugenics that characterized the United States and Western Europe. In addition, following the work of James Baldwin and Homi Bhabha, Anderson notes how whiteness has been used as a "strategy of authority" for colonial settlers rather than as a robust identity, a fact he illustrates through his research on race in Australia and the Philippines. To listen to other installments in the Consortium's series on Race Science and Scientific Racism, please visit: https://www.chstm.org/video/101
30 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Christa Kuljian on Race and Science
In this recording and in her book Darwin's Hunch: Science, Race, and the Search for Human Origins, Christa Kuljian examines the history of paleoanthropology in South Africa, interrogating the ways in which ideas about racial hierarchies influenced the founding and development of the field. Her research demonstrates how the social and political context in which paleoanthropology has been practiced in South Africa and elsewhere influenced the development of the science, and how present-day scientists are pushing back against their field's troubling legacy. Christa Kuljian is a writer, author, and Research Associate at WiSER, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg, South Africa. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on Race Science and Scientific Racism at: www.chstm.org/video/101
23 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
Audra Wolfe — Freedom's Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science
In this episode of Perspectives, we sit down with Audra Wolfe to discuss her book, Freedom's Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science. In Freedom's Laboratory, Dr. Wolfe examines the relationship between science, politics, and governance in the United States during the Cold War, highlighting the ways in which scientists, policymakers, and administrators defined and thought about concepts such as "scientific freedom" and "Western science." She examines the role of scientists in American cultural diplomacy after World War II, at a time when United States propaganda promoted a vision of science as empirical, objective, and international. This view of science was often contrasted with a representation of Soviet science as politically motivated and nationalistic. Dr. Wolfe adds to our knowledge of how science and propaganda, psychology and diplomacy, interacted with one another and were deployed on both sides during the Cold War. Weaving diplomatic history with the history of science, Wolfe's book demonstrates the powerful and controversial uses and abuses of science during the Cold War. Audra Wolfe is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, and historian. She is the author of two books on science and the Cold War, Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America and Freedom's Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science, both available from Johns Hopkins University Press. You can follow her on Twitter as @ColdWarScience and subscribe to her newsletter at Never Just Science dot substack dot com. For more resources on this topic, please visit: https://www.chstm.org/video/112
24 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Susan Lindee — Rational Fog: Science and Technology in Modern War
In this episode of Perspectives, we talk with M. Susan Lindee, author of Rational Fog: Science and Technology in Modern War. In Rational Fog, Susan Lindee explores the way that science, technology and medicine were transformed by the military establishment and defense funding. She discusses the ways in which thousands of scientists, engineers, and physicians justified or made peace with creating technologies of war, or instead rebelled against the use of science for such pursuits. Indeed, as Lindee reminds us, scores of scientific societies have defended science as a uniquely positive endeavor dedicated to the "welfare of mankind," all while many of their members have pursuit chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons research for the purpose of human injury and death. M. Susan Lindee is Janice and Julian Bers Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
27 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Elise Burton on Race and Science
Elise Burton discusses the development of genetics, "race science," and race concepts in the Middle East. Dr. Burton sketches the connections between European, North American, and Middle Eastern scientists, and elaborates upon how contemporary issues (such as COVID-19) are influenced by ideas of genetic nationalism. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on Race Science and Scientific Racism at: www.chstm.org/video/101
123 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
The Economization of Global Health: World Development Report 1993
This seminar in the Economization of Global Health series focuses on the origins, production and reception of one of the major moments in the economization of global health: the World Bank's World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health (WDR93). Our speakers, both internationally recognized economists, played key roles in this venture: Dean Jamison was the lead author of the report, while Abdo Yazbeck was responsible for much of the technical work. In this seminar, the two discuss their work on the report and reflect on its origins and impact.
13 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Sebastian Gil-Riano on Race and Science
Sebastián Gil-Riaño examines how scientific articulations of human diversity have been used to both legitimize and confront notions of race and racism in the modern world. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on Race Science and Scientific Racism at: www.chstm.org/video/101
15 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Sadiah Qureshi on Race and Science
Sadiah Qureshi recounts the history of the exhibition of displayed peoples in nineteenth-century Britain, and how these shows contributed to the formation of anthropology. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on Race Science and Scientific Racism at: www.chstm.org/video/101
21 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
Jonson Miller — Engineering Manhood: Race and the Antebellum Virginia Military Institute
In this podcast episode, we talk with Jonson Miller, author of Engineering Manhood: Race and the Antebellum Virginia Military Institute. In Engineering Manhood, Jonson Miller explores the development of the Virginia Military Institute and the engineering profession in the Antebellum United States. Miller delves into the ways in which VMI was a node in the struggle for political representation among lower and middle-class white men, while explicitly excluding women and black men from its egalitarian mission. Jonson Miller was a 2014 to 2015 Research Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Find this podcast and further resources on the Consortium's website at: https://www.chstm.org/video/108
22 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
John Jackson on Race and Science
John Jackson discusses the legacy of nineteenth-century "race science" on twentieth-century scientific investigation, the challenge to "race science" made by population genetics and anthropology, and the ways in which the pseudoscience of race continues to inform twenty-first century debates. Find this podcast and more in the Consortium's series on Race Science and Scientific Racism at: www.chstm.org/video/101
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