Visiting Speaker Series

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Autism and Its Transformations – The History of a Contested Diagnosis

The History of Medicine Office is pleased to present the 2017 Visiting Speaker Series, featuring Jeffrey Baker, MD, PhD, Duke University.

Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Reception: 5:00 p.m.
Presentation: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Dental Sciences Building, Rm. 1002

Historians have generally described autism as a syndrome that was ‘discovered’ in 1943; remained a rare categorical diagnosis through the 1970s; and then was expanded into a spectrum in the 1980s.

Autism and Its Transformations – The History of a Contested Diagnosis will argue, instead, that the meaning and boundaries of autism have been contested from the beginning. It will explore how debates about autism intertwined with those about schizophrenia and intellectual disability, and how race, class, and education played into the diagnosis in complex ways that would make the diagnosis more visible in some populations than others.

Registration for this event is not required. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

About the Visiting Speaker Series 

Presented by the History of Medicine Office at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Every autumn a distinguished medical historian is invited to Western University to deliver a public lecture to medical students and faculty as well as interested members of the London community. The lecture series was established in 2015 through the generosity of a donor impressed with the engagement and quality of medical student presentations in the history of medicine at the spring History of Medicine Colloquium at Schulich Medicine. In this spirit, this funding further bolsters medical student engagement with the history of medicine by bringing leading scholars to Western, significantly adding to the intellectual community and educational experience of students.

Past Speakers

  • 2016 - Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Queen's University
    "The Stethoscope at 200: A Revolutionary Device now Obsolete?"

    Photos and information on the 2016 lecture available here.

  • 2015 - Prof. Dale C. Smith, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
    "Caring for the Wounded: How the Great War Medical Experience Shaped Post-War American Surgery"

    Photos and information on the 2015 lecture available here.