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The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe

Brittleness, Integration, Science, and the Great War

Stefanos Geroulanos and Todd Meyers

The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe

Stefanos Geroulanos and Todd Meyers

416 pages | 14 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226556598 Will Publish August 2018
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226556451 Will Publish August 2018
E-book $10.00 to $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226556628 Will Publish August 2018
The injuries suffered by soldiers during WWI were as varied as they were brutal. How could the human body suffer and often absorb such disparate traumas? Why might the same wound lead one soldier to die but allow another to recover?
 
In The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe, Stefanos Geroulanos and Todd Meyers uncover a fascinating story of how medical scientists came to conceptualize the body as an integrated yet brittle whole. Responding to the harrowing experience of the Great War, the medical community sought conceptual frameworks to understand bodily shock, brain injury, and the vast differences in patient responses they occasioned. Geroulanos and Meyers carefully trace how this emerging constellation of ideas became essential for thinking about integration, individuality, fragility, and collapse far beyond medicine: in fields as diverse as anthropology, political economy, psychoanalysis, and cybernetics.
 
Moving effortlessly between the history of medicine and intellectual history, The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe is an intriguing look into the conceptual underpinnings of the world the Great War ushered in. 
 
Contents
Prologue: “Why Don’t We Die Daily?”

Part One
1. The Whole on the Verge of Collapse: Physiology’s Test
2. The Puzzle of Wounds: Shock and the Body at War
3. The Visible and the Invisible: The Rise and Operationalization of Case Studies, 1915–1919

Part Two
4. Brain Injury, Patienthood, and Nervous Integration in Sherrington, Goldstein, and Head, 1905–1934
5. Physiology Incorporates the Psyche: Digestion, Emotions, and Homeostasis in Walter Cannon, 1898–1932
6. The Organism and Its Environment: Integration, Interiority, and Individuality around 1930
7. Psychoanalysis and Disintegration: W. H. R. Rivers’s Endangered Self and Sigmund Freud’s Death Drive

Part Three
8. The Political Economy in Bodily Metaphor and the Anthropologies of Integrated Communication
9. Vis medicatrix, or the Fragmentation of Medical Humanism
10. Closure: The Individual
 
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations and Archives
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Deborah Coen, Yale University
“A shared concept of human individuality lies at the heart of intellectual traditions as varied as psychoanalysis, cybernetics, and medical humanism: an individuality knowable only at the moment of its collapse. This is the remarkable argument of The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe, a provocative and poignant book, and one that will be essential reading for historians of modern science and medicine. By reconstructing modern neuromedicine’s confrontation with the violence of industrialized warfare, Geroulanos and Meyers have given us a model for writing intellectual history that is simultaneously materialized, embodied, and transnational.”
David W. Bates, University of California, Berkeley
“Geroulanos and Meyers have written a terrifically original book. In an important sense, it is inventing its own subject—namely, the emergence of the idea that the body is a self-integrating entity—in that there has not to date been a clear articulation of this concept and certainly no comprehensive historical tracking of its development in modern scientific and medical thought. Engaging and clearly written, and with vivid examples, The Human Body in the Age of Catastrophe will certainly attract an eclectic set of readers, but will have especially strong appeal for specialists in the history of medicine, psychology, and social sciences.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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