History of Medicine Lunchtime Lectures

History of Medicine Lunchtime Lecture Series

The Program in the History of Medicine hosts a History of Medicine Lunchtime Lecture series during the semester (September through December, January through April). Lectures are typically held on the first Monday of the month from 12:20–1:10 p.m. in 555 Diehl Hall. Contact hmed@umn.edu for more information.


Feb 3: David Schmit, Ph.D., "Mind Cure and Mental Therapeutics in the Late 19th Century United States"

March 2: Emily Winderman (Communications Studies, UMN), "Before Abortion: Tracing the History of Back-Alley Rhetoric"

Abstract: With abortion rights under siege today, we consistently hear the refrain: “we will never go back to the era of back-alley abortions.” Historians of abortion care generally agree that while there were certainly incompetent and greedy practitioners, the “back-alley butcher” is an overblown figure that deflects from sympathetic and competent practitioners who risked professional standing to provide care during the era when abortion was a crime. While the phrase “back-alley abortion” entered public discourse in the 1950’s, the phrase “back-alley” had its own rhetorical life well before it became associated with pregnancy termination. This talk traces the phrase “back-alley” before abortion in order to determine the discourses and public feelings that have long been associated with the phrase. Doing so illuminates the racist, classist, and gendered residue that journalists, abortion-rights advocates ultimately inherited when engaging the phrase, “back-alley abortion.”

CANCELLED: April 6: Alani Hicks-Bartlett (Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University)