Theodore Porter’s contribution to this discussion, Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity, takes a much broader perspective on the eugenics-genetics divide. Instead of seeing eugenics as either a founding contaminant in genetics, or as a temporary aberration in psychiatric science, Porter looks at the much longer history of data collection within the primary sites for psychiatry over several centuries: asylums or mental hospitals.
Laura D. Hirshbein, MD, PhD
Laura Hirshbein is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan and the author of American Melancholy: Constructions of Depression in the Twentieth Century (2009) and Smoking Privileges: Psychiatry, the Mentally Ill, and the Tobacco Industry in America (2015), both published by Rutgers University Press.
Posts by Laura D. Hirshbein, MD, PhD
The real Elvis is American, remember, and America is a consumer society. The desires we project, the stuff we buy—that is what feels real to us. It lets us have any Elvis we want. He left plenty of kitsch in his wake, plenty of pseudo-religion, plenty of Elvis jokes—but he was not, is not, a joke. He lived our contradictions, released our inhibitions, and lost himself in the process.