Preprint Articles

“We Belt the World”: Dr. Leslie E. Keeley’s “Gold Cure” and the Medicalization of Addiction in 1890s London

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Posted: 
Friday, April 23, 2021
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Dr. Leslie E. Keeley (1832–1900), proprietor of the “Gold Cure” for alcohol and drug habits, was the world’s best-known addiction cure doctor at the end of the nineteenth century. Vast numbers of people claimed that his treatment worked, but his reliance on a secret cure brought derision from mainstream medicine. This article uses unpublished archival sources to examine the 1892 opening of Keeley’s London franchise. The British medical establishment, particularly that element of it led by Dr. Norman S. Kerr and the Society for the Study of Inebriety, was outraged at the American clinic’s presence in London. Nonetheless, the Keeley Institute prospered. London’s mainstream professionals did not have the cultural authority to impose their assessment of the Keeley Institute over the popular language of “cure” that followed the Keeley phenomenon around the globe. This article argues that despite this apparent struggle between two ways of conceptualizing and treating addiction, the ultimate winner of the debate was medicalization itself. Whichever therapy a patient chose, mainstream or market, both understood addiction to be a medical problem, requiring a medical solution.

Aborted Dreams and Contested Labors: The Société Royale de Médecine’s 1786 Survey of Midwives

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021
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In 1786 Charles Alexandre de Calonne requested the addition of midwives to the Société Royale de Médecine’s (SRM) national survey of medical practitioners, thereby broadening governmental and medical surveillance of childbirth. This essay explores the data-gathering practices for the midwives’ survey in the generality of Soissons. It challenges the dominant Anglocentric narrative of man-midwives’ usurpation of childbirth and, by highlighting local negotiations around midwifery expertise, provides a fruitful juxtaposition to the French, quantitative scholarship on the surveys. The methodologies of paper technology facilitate an excavation of the particular social vision for midwives embedded in the physical table itself. Attention to the paper trails of the survey recovers the hidden voices of midwives and birthing women. The SRM’s attempts to derive universal knowledge from the survey responses masked heterogeneous notions of expertise and regional debates over midwifery education.

From “Honeymoon Period” to “Stable Marriage”: The Rise of Management Consultants in British Health Policymaking

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021
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Since the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, different groups of experts have competed to inform the development of British health policy. This article analyzes the long-term rise of one of these groups—management consultants. The scale and regularity of their engagement has increased considerably over time, strikingly in recent years, and the functions fulfilled by consultants have become ever more diverse. At important moments they were often seen by policymakers—particularly when there was understood to be a lack of internal expertise—as possessors and imparters of important knowledge. Firms and individuals worked consciously to integrate themselves into emerging health policy networks. But there has often been relatively little consideration of their real suitability for work in the health field. Many debates around the use of external consultants today—accountability, value for money, dependency—were foreshadowed during earlier periods, with implications for current policymakers.

“Sisters of a Darker Race”: African American Graduates of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1867–1925

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Thursday, April 29, 2021
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During its first seventy-five years (1850–1925), the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) graduated eighteen Black women—more than any other predominantly white medical school. This article examines the lives and careers of these “sisters of a darker race” as they sought a foothold in medicine. Its exclusive focus on WMCP allows historical examination of the experiences of Black medical professionals in a “white space.” This perspective helps illuminates the racism that Black women encountered from their white colleagues. WMCP itself maintained a racially exclusionary internship policy that barred black women and contributed to a racial divide in the female medical world, making plain its educational objective to prepare African Americans for medical careers in black medical spaces. Nonetheless, WMCP did prepare this pioneering group of Black women physicians with the education and skills to make significant contributions to medicine and Black communities in the United States and Africa.