May 1, 2023


You are invited to the 48th Hideyo Noguchi Lecture in the History of Medicine on Monday, May 1st at 4pm featuring Dr. Stephen T. Casper presenting Punch Drunk Slugnuts: A Cultural History of Violence, Stigma, Sport, and Concussion. The event will occur in person in the West Reading Room on the 2nd floor of the Welch Library Building located at 1900 East Monument Street with reception to follow. There will be a webinar livestream available.

Stephen T. Casper, PhD is Professor in the History of Medicine at Clarkson University and an expert on the history of neurology, neuroscience, and the human sciences. His current book project is called Punch Drunk and Dementia: A Cultural History of Concussion, c.1870-2020. The book is under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press, and it explores the cultural history of blunt force trauma to the head. He is also currently co-editing an anthology entitled Troubling Encounters in the History of the Human Sciences: Latin America and the United States Empire, 1870s-2000s, a volume now forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. He discloses that he is an expert witness in the history of medicine in concussion litigation pending in the United States and Britain.

This lecture tells a cultural story about the way it became normal to hit our heads. From early Vaudeville acts to Bob Hope’s sideshow routines before boxing matches at Madison Square Gardens; from everyday speech on the streets of Chicago or the letters of eminent authors like Hemingway, Steinbeck and Malcolm X; to aggressive sports and risky daredevil stunts; violence to the head and its lasting ramifications entered American culture in languages of slang, physical comedy, bravado, humor and stigma. This history of concussion and its diseases thus looks not at what scientists and doctors discovered about head injury and its effects alone across the twentieth century, but instead explores the way those doctors and scientists and their cultures navigated violence and the inevitable harms that followed from it. The legacies – medical, institutional, and cultural – remain visible today.

Title: Punch Drunk Slugnuts: A Cultural History of Violence, Stigma, Sport, & Concussion
What: Lecture with Reception to follow
Who: Dr. Stephen Casper of Clarkson University
When: Monday, May 1st at 4pm
Where: West Reading Room, 2nd Floor Welch Library Building, 1900 East Monument Street, 21205
Zoom Webinar Link: