The department of Social Studies of Medicine invites you to a seminar with Dr. George Weisz
"Reinventing Chronic Disease in the 20th Century"
Abstract: The term “chronic” has existed for many centuries to describe illnesses that unfold slowly, in contrast to acute diseases that either kill or disappear quickly. But in the early 20th century, “chronic disease” took on an entirely new meaning; it was reframed as a social problem that demanded significant reform of health care institutions. It has been argued that this development was a natural response to what has been called the “demographic transition”—that the decline in infectious diseases, allowed diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to assume new significance. While this view has some validity, it ignores the fact that the process occurred almost exclusively in the United States until about 1950s when chronic disease appeared on a limited scale in Britain as part of an effort to deal with the institutionalized elderly. The term did not assume policy significance in France until the 21st century. In the first part of this talk I shall try to explain why the term emerged as a useful category of thought and action in the American health arena between 1920 and 1960 and how “objective” data was produced that confirmed the existence of a “chronic disease plague”. The second section of the talk will focus on France, where institutional conditions made the notion of chronic disease virtually invisible for much of the 20th century.
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 3: 30pm, 3647 Peel Street - Don Bates Seminar Room 101.
For further information please see the attached flyer or consult our website: www.mcgill.ca/ssom/upcoming-seminars-events