Actions and Detail Panel
Tremor: A Biography of Parkinson’s Disease with Professor Dorothy Porter
Tue 16 May 2017, 17:30 – 19:30 BST
The Frances Ivens lecture for medical humanities and social science.
Tremor: A Biography of Parkinson ’s Disease from the Shaking Palsy to the Neurobiology of Compulsion
Estimates suggest four million people are affected worldwide by Parkinson’s Disease, a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. In the United States one million people live with Parkinson’s and a further 60,000 are diagnosed each year. In Britain a new person is diagnosed every hour.
This talk explores how and why transformations have taken place in the material, cultural and experiential history of the disease from the time of its first description by James Parkinson as The Shaking Palsy in 1817. However, while this will include examining changing scientific explanations of its causes and in its cultural meaning, the analysis will also focus on the experiences of patients.
This talk will concentrate on the relationship of Parkinson’s patients to creativity and emergent, contested theories about a neurologically determined behavioral profile of the Parkinson’s personality. It examines a range of creatively expressive patients, including Wilhelm von Humboldt, Mervyn Peake, John Betjeman and contemporary artists such as Johanne Vermette.
The lecture will take place 5.30-6.30pm and be followed by a drinks reception.
Dorothy Porter is Professor of the History of Health Sciences at the University of California San Francisco. She has published extensively on the history of public health and social medicine including Health Citizenship: Essays on Social Medicine and Bio-medical Politics (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2012) and Health, Civilisation and the State. A History of Public Health from Ancient to Modern Times, (Routledge, 1999). She is currently researching the history of Parkinson’s Disease and Creativity.