Lecture: Autism and Its Transformations: The History of a Contested Diagnosis

Please join us for our 2017 Visiting Speaker Lecture, to be delivered by Dr Jeffery Baker, Director of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine at Duke University, on Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017. Dr Baker will be talking about his work on the history of autism.

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.

Dr Baker's talk -- 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 visibile in some populations than others.

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