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The Waring Historical Library Blog

Two Events, One Week

by Tabitha Samuel on 2021-03-08T15:54:33-05:00 | Comments

Alyssa Peterson

Alyssa Peterson

Join us for two of our March events this week! First, The Waring’s March 2021 Student History Club (SHC) Noon Lecture will be held Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 12 PM virtually on Zoom. Ms. Alyssa Peterson will present, "Bitter Knowledge: The Localization and Embodiment of the Environment in Early American Medicine."

Ms. Alyssa Peterson, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on Atlantic and Environmental history, as well as the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (HSTM), wrote the winning graduate essay for the 2020 Worthington Essay Contest. At this SHC meeting, she will present her paper. Ms. Peterson will examine the work of Dr. David Ramsay and his identification of local plants with medicinal benefits in the context of European materia medica. Dr. Ramsay practiced medicine in Charleston in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was a prolific researcher and writer. While some historians have concluded that Dr. Ramsay’s identification of local substitutions for standard medication can be seen as a direct affront to European medical knowledge of the time, Ms. Peterson argues that it was simply a local substitution that expanded access to medications.

Registration for the SHC lecture is required by Tuesday, March 9, 2020, at 12PM to reserve your seat and receive log in information.

And, finally, The Joseph I. Waring Lecture, will be held Thursday, March 11, 2021, at 6:00 PM, also virtually on Zoom. Dr. Stephen Casper, from Clarkson University, will present, "Punch Drunk Slugnuts: Violence and the Vernacular History of Disease."

Dr. Stephen Casper

Dr. Stephen Casper

Since hits to the head cause dementia, why are we only now realizing it? Neurological illnesses follow recurrent hits to the head was tempered by the very languages that first called the diseases into scientific existence: punch drunk, slug nutty, slap-happy, goofy, punchie, and a host of other colloquialisms accompanying class identities. Thus, the discovery of disease and its medicalization ran straight into a disbelief about losers - losers in boxing, losers in life, losers in general. To medicalize such individuals was to fly in the face of a culture that made them jokes. Yet, a subculture began to emerge around pathological understandings, first in medicine, then in journalism, then in the courts, and then finally with patient accounts about illness.

Registration for the Waring Lecture is required by Wednesday, March 10, 2020, at 12 PM to reserve your seat and receive log in information.

The Waring Lecture is named in memory of Dr. Joseph I. Waring, a local pediatrician and medical historian, who became the first director of the medical history collections of the University. This lecture takes place annually in the Spring semester.

This Waring lecture is the final installment for the year of our first expanded lecture series, The Waring Society Lecture Series, which provides a look at new, fresh, and innovative research and publications on the history of the health sciences. Each lecture is presented in a hybrid format, part formal recorded presentation and part live discussion online with the author-historian. Those who wish to attend will need to register so that you can receive the necessary link to join the presentation, as well as a more detailed description of the logistics.

Virtual seating for these events is limited, and both events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Waring at 843-792-2288 or We look forward to seeing you at both events.

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