Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ugly Laws reviewed in Cleveland Plain Dealer

Earlier Penny posted here on Sue Schweik's recent publication and book tour. It is fascinating to see how local newspapers are covering The Ugly Laws. Sue shared with her facebook friends a link to the recent review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This is a model of how academic work can open up otherwise occluded historical phenomena.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Conference: War Wounds (Canberra, 24-25 September 2009)

[Image description: Logo for the conference, central photo is black and white, a young man in uniform, arm in a sling)

A conference announcement from the H-Net digest. Aside from the cringeworthy "triumph over" language here,
it looks like an interesting program:

BAE Systems Theatre,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Thursday 24 and Friday 25 September, 2009

The history of warfare and the history of medicine have been closely linked. War has often been an accelerator of advances in medical treatment and surgery as doctors and nurses struggled to cope with the human cost and suffering of mankind’s most destructive acts.

The major wars of the last hundred years—from the First World War to more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—have driven advances in treatments for wounds and pain management, the use of antibacterial agents and more effective prophylaxis against disease and infection, as well as the development of radical new approaches to evacuating, treating and healing the injured.

Nevertheless, war continues to inflict its toll of carnage and human misery on not just combatants but also civilians who are, too often, either the intended or accidental targets of modern conflicts. The relationship between medicine and the military can also produce challenges and conflict.

For veterans and their families the post-war legacy of combat experience can sometimes seem as severe and persistent as the effects of wounds and injuries. War-damaged veterans are reminder of the enduring impact of war on Australian society.

The Australian War Memorial is convening this two-day conference to bring together eminent historians specialising in the medical and demographic consequences of warfare, medical practitioners and researchers in the field of military medicine, former and serving medical officers, surgeons, nurses and veterans. They will explore the impact of war, wounds and trauma through the historical record and personal experiences.

Conference themes

Major themes to be addressed by speakers include:

  • Casualties in war, treatment in the field and medical evacuation, surgical teams and field hospitals
  • Soldiers’ and doctors’ perspectives (personal accounts) of wounds and treatment
  • Mine casualties, fear of wounds and acute trauma on the battlefield
  • Shell shock, self inflicted wounds and combat fatigue
  • Illnesses and diseases of war (malaria, dysentery, venereal disease, etc.), maintaining soldiers’ health, the evolution of service medicine
  • Facially disfigured soldiers, advances in surgery, rehabilitation of wounded veterans
  • The cost of war and veterans’ health studies, the aftermath and post mortems, including the debate over the effects of ‘Agent Orange’ in Vietnam
  • Living with the effects, triumph over disabilities
  • The lighter side (doctors’ and veterans’ memories)

Join us at the Australian War Memorial for an absorbing, stimulating and, at times, confronting exploration of the interaction of medicine and war.

This conference is being convened by the Australian War Memorial. The support of the Australian Government through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is gratefully acknowledged.

More information.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sue Schweik, The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public

Sue Schweik's long-awaited book, The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public is now available as part of the History of Disability series from NYU Press. For much of the twentieth century, there were local laws in many American cities that allowed police to remove unsightly individuals from public view. The Chicago wording is most famous: "Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed... shall not... expose himself to public view."

Yes, really.

Sue's touring with this book--so if the description piques your interest and you can attend one of these appearances, go check them out.

San Francisco: Tuesday July 14 (With "Tiny" Garcia of Poor Magazine,
Leroy Moore, Coalition on Homelessness and the Po' Poets): Modern Times
, 888 Valencia St, 7 pm. Focus on connections to continuing
criminalization of poverty today.

Cleveland: Sunday July 26: Barnes and Noble Eton Collection, 28801 Chagrin
Blvd, Woodmere, 2 pm. Focus on Cleveland and Ohio disability history.

Chicago: Tuesday July 28: Access Living, 115 W. Chicago, 6-8:30 pm. RSVP
to Riva, 312-640-1919, rlehrer@accessliving.org. Focus on poor disabled
peoples' resistance to the laws.

Chicago: Wednesday July 29: Women and Children First bookstore, 5233 North
Clark Street, 7:30 pm. Focus on connections betwen the policing of
disability and the policing of gender in the laws.