By Jenell Johnson
American Lobotomy experiences a large choice of representations of lobotomy to supply a rhetorical historical past of 1 of the main notorious approaches within the heritage of medication. the improvement of lobotomy in 1935 was once heralded as a “miracle healing” that may empty the nation’s perennially blighted asylums. even though, simply 20 years later, lobotomists at first praised for his or her “therapeutic braveness” have been condemned for his or her barbarity, a picture that has merely soured in next a long time. Johnson employs formerly deserted texts like technology fiction, horror movie, political polemics, and conspiracy thought to teach how lobotomy’s entanglement with social and political narratives contributed to a strong photograph of the operation that persists to today. The publication provocatively demanding situations the heritage of medication, arguing that rhetorical historical past is important to figuring out scientific heritage. It bargains a case examine of the way medication 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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Additional resources for American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History
I can’t help it. How long does this go on? (Right lower cuts) Doctor: Glad you’re being operated? . Doctor: What will you do when you’re well? Patient: O, go back to work. Oh, I can’t stand it. Doctor: What job? Patient: O, it’s a good job, brakeman with a railroad. Doctor: Scared? 28 American Lobotomy Patient: Yeh. Doctor: Sing God Bless America. . Doctor: What are you doing here? Patient: Being operated on. Doctor: What for? Patient: There’s something wrong with the brain. Doctor: Is it all right now?
Lobotomy did not offer a cure for schizophrenia. What it offered was an emotionally dampened personality thought to be more amenable to “occupational adjustment” (1950, 203–225; see also Raz 2010). Thinking with the Thalamus 31 Freeman and Watts often remarked that they would not operate on patients unless they were “threatened with disability or suicide” (1950, 203), and it is clear that in this discourse, disability—here positioned equally with death— meant disabled from the workforce. “Patients who come to prefrontal lobotomy represent failures in occupational adjustment,” explained Freeman and Watts, and “usually they are bad failures, with no reasonable hope of restitution.
Doctor: How do you feel? Doctor: You’re grabbing me awful tight. Patient: Am I? I can’t help it. How long does this go on? (Right lower cuts) Doctor: Glad you’re being operated? . Doctor: What will you do when you’re well? Patient: O, go back to work. Oh, I can’t stand it. Doctor: What job? Patient: O, it’s a good job, brakeman with a railroad. Doctor: Scared? 28 American Lobotomy Patient: Yeh. Doctor: Sing God Bless America. . Doctor: What are you doing here? Patient: Being operated on. Doctor: What for?
American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History by Jenell Johnson