Abstract

summary:

This article examines the role of Wilder Penfield’s patients in early neurosurgeries for epilepsy at the Montreal Neurological Institute from the 1930s to 1950s. Shifting the focus from scientific discoveries that emerged as a result of Penfield’s unprecedented “exploration” of the brain, this piece considers how patients contributed to the creation of such knowledge through their spoken feedback, both within and beyond the operating room. Correspondingly, it examines the personal and social contexts under which patients elected for surgery. Tracing an underexplored social history of Penfield’s patients through more than sixty clinical records, it suggests that making knowledge about the brain was a multidirectional process in which patients meaningfully participated, and in which their experiences of epilepsy and motivations for surgery were significant.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 761-789
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-28
Open Access
No
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