Thu • Sep

Thursday, September 28, 2017



The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029


$12 General Public | $8 Friends, Fellows, Members, Seniors | $8 Military personnel with ID | Free to Students with ID

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Popularly known as “The War to End All Wars,” the First World War was also the war to end all disability. Determined to curtail the human and economic costs of military conflict, the United States and many other belligerent nations instituted programs of physical and vocational rehabilitation in order to make injured men whole again, so that they could fit back seamlessly into civilian society. This talk will trace the practice and ethic of the rehabilitative model of veteran care, with an eye toward showing how it later became commodified as part of America’s ongoing commitment to pursuing a militaristic foreign policy. 

About the Speaker

Beth Linker is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science, where she is also Graduate Chair. She received her PhD from Yale and worked as a clinician before her doctoral training in history. Her research and teaching interests include the cultural and social history of modern medicine and science, specifically in critical disability studies, gender, body techniques, and surgery as a techno-curative practice. She is the author of two books, War’s Waste (Chicago, 2011) and Civil Disabilities (Penn Press, 2014). Her award-winning scholarship has also appeared in The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, The Bulletin of the History of Medicine, and The American Journal of Public Health. Her future book projects include Slouch: The Rise and Fall of American Posture Sciences and Making the Cut: Surplus Surgery in America.

Event series:
Legacies of War: Medical Innovations and Impacts
The profound physical and mental destruction left in the wake of war has by necessity accelerated innovation in medicine that often led to benefits for society as a whole. The conditions of war have brought advances in surgical care, prosthetics, blood banking, antibiotics and trauma care. This series commemorates the American entry into World War I in 1917 by exploring the often-intertwined history of conflict and medical innovation, as well as the devastating and ongoing impact of war on the minds and bodies of soldiers and civilian populations.