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In the Eye's Mind Cover

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In the Eye's Mind

Vision and the Helmholtz-Hering Controversy

R. S. Turner

One of the most persistent controversies of modern science has dealt with human visual perception. It erupted in Germany during the 1860s as a dispute between physiologists Hermann von Helmholtz, Ewald Hering, and their schools. Well into the twentieth century these groups warred over the origins of our capacity to perceive space, over the retinal mechanisms that mediate color sensations, and over the role of mind, experience, and inference in vision. Here R. Steven Turner explores the impassioned exchanges of those rival schools, both to illuminate the clash of theory and to explore the larger role of controversy in the development of science. Controversy, he suggests, is constitutive of scientific change, and he uses the Helmholtz-Hering dispute to illustrate how polemics and tacit negotiation shape evolving theoretical stances.

Turner focuses on the arguments and issues of the dispute, issues that ranged from the interpretation of color blindness and optical illusions to the therapeutic practices of clinical ophthalmology. As well, he focuses on the personalities, institutions, disciplinary structures, and methodological commitments that shaped the dispute, including the schools' rhetorical strategies. He explores the incommensurability of the protagonists' viewpoints and examines the reception of the theories and the changing fortunes of the schools. Finally, Turner traces the controversy into the twentieth century, where the issues continue to inform the study of vision today.

Originally published in 1994.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Incurable and Intolerable Cover

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Incurable and Intolerable

Chronic Disease and Slow Death in Nineteenth-Century France

Jason Szabo

Incurable and Intolerable looks at the history of incurable illness from a variety of perspectives, including doctors, patients, families, religious counsel, and policy makers. This compellingly documented history illuminates the physical, emotional, social, and existential consequences of chronic disease and terminal illness, and offers an original look at the world of palliative medicine, politics, religion, and charity. Jason Szabo encourages a more careful scrutiny of today's attitudes, policies, and practices surrounding "imminent death" and its effects on society.

The Inevitable Hour Cover

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The Inevitable Hour

A History of Caring for Dying Patients in America

Emily K. Abel

At the turn of the twentieth century, medicine’s imperative to cure disease increasingly took priority over the demand to relieve pain and suffering at the end of life. Filled with heartbreaking stories, The Inevitable Hour demonstrates that professional attention and resources gradually were diverted from dying patients. Emily K. Abel challenges three myths about health care and dying in America. First, that medicine has always sought authority over death and dying; second, that medicine superseded the role of families and spirituality at the end of life; and finally, that only with the advent of the high-tech hospital did an institutional death become dehumanized. Abel shows that hospitals resisted accepting dying patients and often worked hard to move them elsewhere. Poor, terminally ill patients, for example, were shipped from Bellevue Hospital in open boats across the East River to Blackwell’s Island, where they died in hovels, mostly without medical care. Some terminal patients were not forced to leave, yet long before the advent of feeding tubes and respirators, dying in a hospital was a profoundly dehumanizing experience. With technological advances, passage of the Social Security Act, and enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, almshouses slowly disappeared and conditions for dying patients improved—though, as Abel argues, the prejudices and approaches of the past are still with us. The problems that plagued nineteenth-century almshouses can be found in many nursing homes today, where residents often receive substandard treatment. A frank portrayal of the medical care of dying people past and present, The Inevitable Hour helps to explain why a movement to restore dignity to the dying arose in the early 1970s and why its goals have been so difficult to achieve.

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Infectious Ideas

Contagion in Premodern Islamic and Christian Thought in the Western Mediterranean

Justin K. Stearns

Infectious Ideas is a comparative analysis of how Muslim and Christian scholars explained the transmission of disease in the premodern Mediterranean world. How did religious communities respond to and make sense of epidemic disease? To answer this, historian Justin K. Stearns looks at how Muslim and Christian communities conceived of contagion, focusing especially on the Iberian Peninsula in the aftermath of the Black Death. What Stearns discovers calls into question recent scholarship on Muslim and Christian reactions to the plague and leprosy. Stearns shows that rather than universally reject the concept of contagion, as most scholars have affirmed, Muslim scholars engaged in creative and rational attempts to understand it. He explores how Christian scholars used the metaphor of contagion to define proper and safe interactions with heretics, Jews, and Muslims, and how contagion itself denoted phenomena as distinct as the evil eye and the effects of corrupted air. Stearns argues that at the heart of the work of both Muslims and Christians, although their approaches differed, was a desire to protect the physical and spiritual health of their respective communities. Based on Stearns's analysis of Muslim and Christian legal, theological, historical, and medical texts in Arabic, Medieval Castilian, and Latin, Infectious Ideas is the first book to offer a comparative discussion of concepts of contagion in the premodern Mediterranean world.

Influenza Cover

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A Century of Science and Public Health Response

Dehner examines the wide disparity in national and international responses to influenza pandemics, from the Russian flu of 1889 to the swine flu outbreak in 2009. He chronicles the technological and institutional progress made along the way and shows how these developments can shape an effective future policy.

Intensely Human Cover

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Intensely Human

The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War

Margaret Humphreys

Black soldiers in the American Civil War were far more likely to die of disease than were white soldiers. In Intensely Human, historian Margaret Humphreys explores why this uneven mortality occurred and how it was interpreted at the time. In doing so, she uncovers the perspectives of mid-nineteenth-century physicians and others who were eager to implicate the so-called innate inferiority of the black body. In the archival collections of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Humphreys found evidence that the high death rate among black soldiers resulted from malnourishment, inadequate shelter and clothing, inferior medical attention, and assignments to hazardous environments. While some observant physicians of the day attributed the black soldiers' high mortality rate to these circumstances, few medical professionals—on either side of the conflict—were prepared to challenge the "biological evidence" of white superiority. Humphreys shows how, despite sympathetic and responsible physicians' efforts to expose the truth, the stereotype of black biological inferiority prevailed during the war and after.

Into Africa Cover

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Into Africa

A Transnational History of Catholic Medical Missions and Social Change

Barbra Mann Wall

The most dramatic growth of Christianity in the late twentieth century has occurred in Africa, where Catholic missions have played major roles. But these missions did more than simply convert Africans. Catholic sisters became heavily involved in the Church’s health services and eventually in relief and social justice efforts. In Into Africa, Barbra Mann Wall offers a transnational history that reveals how Catholic medical and nursing sisters established relationships between local and international groups, sparking an exchange of ideas that crossed national, religious, gender, and political boundaries.
Both a nurse and a historian, Wall explores this intersection of religion, medicine, gender, race, and politics in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the years following World War II, a period when European colonial rule was ending and Africans were building new governments, health care institutions, and education systems. She focuses specifically on hospitals, clinics, and schools of nursing in Ghana and Uganda run by the Medical Mission Sisters of Philadelphia; in Nigeria and Uganda by the Irish Medical Missionaries of Mary; in Tanzania by the Maryknoll Sisters of New York; and in Nigeria by a local Nigerian congregation. Wall shows how, although initially somewhat ethnocentric, the sisters gradually developed a deeper understanding of the diverse populations they served. In the process, their medical and nursing work intersected with critical social, political, and cultural debates that continue in Africa today: debates about the role of women in their local societies, the relationship of women to the nursing and medical professions and to the Catholic Church, the obligations countries have to provide care for their citizens, and the role of women in human rights.
A groundbreaking contribution to the study of globalization and medicine, Into Africa highlights the importance of transnational partnerships, using the stories of these nuns to enhance the understanding of medical mission work and global change.

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Intolerant Bodies

A Short History of Autoimmunity

Warwick Anderson and Ian R. Mackay

Autoimmune diseases, which affect 5 to 10 percent of the population, are as unpredictable in their course as they are paradoxical in their cause. They produce persistent suffering as they follow a drawn-out, often lifelong, pattern of remission and recurrence. Multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes—the diseases considered in this book—are but a handful of the conditions that can develop when the immune system goes awry. Intolerant Bodies is a unique collaboration between Ian Mackay, one of the prominent founders of clinical immunology, and Warwick Anderson, a leading historian of twentieth-century biomedical science. The authors narrate the changing scientific understanding of the cause of autoimmunity and explore the significance of having a disease in which one’s body turns on itself. The book unfolds as a biography of a relatively new concept of pathogenesis, one that was accepted only in the 1950s. In their description of the onset, symptoms, and course of autoimmune diseases, Anderson and Mackay quote from the writings of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Joseph Heller, Flannery O’Connor, and other famous people who commented on or grappled with autoimmune disease. The authors also assess the work of the dedicated researchers and physicians who have struggled to understand the mysteries of autoimmunity. Connecting laboratory research, clinical medicine, social theory, and lived experience, Intolerant Bodies reveals how doctors and patients have come to terms, often reluctantly, with this novel and puzzling mechanism of disease causation.

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Investigating the Supernatural

From Spiritism and Occultism to Psychical Research and Metapsychics in France, 1853–1931

Sofie Lachapelle

Séances were wildly popular in France between 1850 and 1930, when members of the general public and scholars alike turned to the wondrous as a means of understanding and explaining the world. Sofie Lachapelle explores how five distinct groups attempted to use and legitimize séances: spiritists, who tried to create a new “science” concerned with the spiritual realm and the afterlife; occultists, who hoped to connect ancient revelations with contemporary science; physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists, who developed a pathology of supernatural experiences; psychical researchers, who drew on the unexplained experiences of the public to create a new field of research; and metapsychists, who attempted to develop a new science of yet-to-be understood natural forces. Lachapelle examines the practices, aims, and level of success of these five disciplines, paying special attention to how they interacted with each other and with the world of mainstream science. Their practitioners regarded mystical phenomena worthy of serious study; most devotees—with notable exceptions of physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists—also meant to challenge conventional science in general and French science in particular. Through these stories, Lachapelle illuminates the lively relationship between science and the supernatural in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France and relates why this relationship ultimately led to the marginalization of psychical research and metapsychics. An enlightening and entertaining narrative that includes colorful people like "Allan Kardec"—a pseudonymous former mathematics teacher from Lyon who wrote successful works on the science of the séance and what happened after death—Investigating the Supernatural reveals the rich and vibrant diversity of unorthodox beliefs and practices that existed at the borders of the French scientific culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

John P. McGovern, MD Cover

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John P. McGovern, MD

A Lifetime of Stories

Bryant Boutwell

John P. McGovern held seventeen professorships, received twenty-nine honorary doctorates, and established the nation’s largest privately owned allergy and immunology clinic. He authored 252 professional publications including twenty-six books in the medical sciences and humanities, and served as president or chief elected officer of fifteen professional societies in medicine. In addition, the McGovern Foundation has given millions of dollars to various local and national health charities, and many Houston landmarks bear the McGovern name, including the McGovern Lake and McGovern Children’s Zoo (at Houston’s Hermann Park), the McGovern Health and Science Museum, and the McGovern Campus of the Texas Medical Center.

Bryant Boutwell, a long-time friend and colleague, has captured the influential life of this visionary Texas physician in John P. McGovern, MD: A Lifetime of Stories. In captivating narrative, interlaced with revealing personal and family stories, Boutwell chronicles McGovern’s holistic approach to medicine, which transcended the traditional boundaries of institutional identities and medical specialties. McGovern worked tirelessly to bring together big institutions, the health professions, bold interdisciplinary ideas, and a team approach to healthcare that, though prescient at the time, is recognized today as imperative. This commitment led to his founding role in the American Osler Society, which promotes humanistic and ethical dimensions of the practice of medicine, and his establishment of humanities programs at the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the UT Medical Branch at Galveston.

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