From offended gods to broken taboos to schizophrenogenic mothers, mankind has long been enmeshed in what neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky calls the “primordial muck” of mental-illness etiology. Today, armed with clearer insights and better tools, we are undergoing a paradigm shift that acknowledges the key role of our microbial fellow passengers in forging our mental health. In this talk, based on her book Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We "Catch" Mental Illness, Harriet Washington traces the history, culture and some disturbing contemporary manifestations of this ‘infection connection."
About the Speaker
Harriet A. Washington is a science writer, editor and ethicist who has been a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, Visiting Fellow at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, a visiting scholar at DePaul University College of Law and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She has also held fellowships at Stanford University. Ms. Washington has written widely for popular science publications and has also been published in refereed journals such as JAMA, The American Journal of Public Health, and Nature. She is the author of several other books, including Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself and Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Experimentation from Colonial Times to the Present, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus Nonfiction Award.
Emily Miranker, MA
Team Administrator/Project Coordinator
Library and Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health
The New York Academy of Medicine
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