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The Calgary Institute for the Humanities present a series of talks from the Medical Humanities

Date & Time:
October 19, 2016 - 3:00 pm to November 2, 2016 - 4:00 pm
BI 587 & BI 561
Aleksandra Loewenau | Matthew Oram | Sandy Pool

The Calgary Institute for the Humanities present a series of talks from the Medical Humanities

Aleksandra Loewenau, CIH PostDoctoral Fellow

“Photographic images as historical source: the story of Polish women experimented on at Ravensbrück concentration camp”. 

Wednesday, October 19 at 3:00pm | BioSciences 587

Abstract:  The story of the Polish women (known as “the Rabbits”) who were subjected to experimental treatment of war wounds at the concentration camp of Ravensbrück has been presented in many publications. Over the time, the Ravensbrück sulphonamide experiments theme has gone through a considerable transformation; however, in general, the historiography to this date was based either on interrogation reports or witness testimonies collected after the war ended. Scholars in their analysis of historical sources have ignored photo images. In this presentation I will analyse photo images of the Rabbits, which were taken during and after WW2, as evidence of crime and torment at Ravensbrück.  

Bio: Aleksandra graduated with a PhD in History of Medicine from Oxford Brookes University in 2012. After the completion of her thesis Aleksandra worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on the Wellcome Trust funded Programme Grant investigating “Disputed Bodies: Subject's Narratives of Medical Research in Europe, 1940-2001” lead by Professor Paul Weindling at Oxford Brookes University. Currently she holds a Postdoctoral Fellow position at University of Calgary where she works on “The Impact of German-speaking neuroscientists on development of neuroscience in North America” project led by Dr. Frank Stahnisch.



Matthew Oram, CIH PostDoctoral Fellow

“Mysticism, Clinical Science, and the FDA: LSD Psychotherapy in the United States, 1949-1976”

Wednesday, October 26 at 3:00pm | BioSciences 561

Abstract: In the 1950s and 1960s, clinical research exploring the therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic drugs was widespread in North America. Researchers found that low doses of LSD could be used to deepen and quicken the process of psychotherapy, while high doses could be used to foster an overwhelming mystical “psychedelic” experience, that had the power to effectively treat chronic alcoholism by transforming patients’ outlooks on life and their values. This research, however, faded into obscurity as increasing public recreational use of the drug led to public and political controversy. The common perception is that intentionally or unintentionally, government efforts to curb recreational use of LSD ended medical research with the drug. However, focusing on the United States, I will explore the regulation of LSD research to show that the government never banned research, and in fact actively supported it for longer than has been acknowledged. Rather, I will explore how research was impacted by changes in the regulation and practice of pharmaceutical research and development in the period, which raised complex scientific challenges that frustrated researchers efforts to establish the effectiveness with their unique therapeutic methods, and which ultimately led research to dwindle.

Bio: Matt graduated with a PhD in History of Medicine from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 2014, and has previously studied history at the Universities of New South Wales, Australia, and Canterbury, New Zealand. His thesis title was “The Trials of Psychedelic Medicine: LSD Psychotherapy, Clinical Science, and Pharmaceutical Regulation in the United States, 1949-1976” and had been supervised by Professor Stephen Robertson at the University of Sydney. Matt’s research has investigated the history of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) psychotherapy in the United States between 1949 and 1976. The focus has been on contextualising clinical research on LSD within the changing scientific standards and regulatory frameworks for pharmaceutical research and development in the period, in order to better explain LSD’s downfall as a therapeutic tool.



Sandy Pool, CIH Visiting Fellow

“The Ebbinghaus Illusion”

Wednesday, November 2 at 3:00pm | BioSciences 561

Abstract: What is the effect of cataloging trauma? Can trauma ever be contained in a conventional narrative?  In this talk, I will give a reading from my new hybrid memoir The Ebbinghaus Illusion, which elegizes the suicide of a friend who suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s.  In addition, I will discuss the relationship between trauma fiction, hybrid poetic forms and space and place theory. 

Bio: Sandy Pool is a Canadian poet, editor and creative writing instructor. Her first book Exploding into Night was a shortlisted nominee for the Governor General's Award for English language poetry at the 2010 Governor General's Awards. Her work has also been anthologized in Writing Without Direction: Ten and a Half Short Stories by Canadian Authors Under Thirty (Clark-Nova Books, 2010), as well as "The Best Canadian Poems 2011", Published by Tightrope Books, and "A Crystal Through Which Love Passes: Glossas for P.K. Page" published by Buschek Books. Her second book, Undark: An Oratorio was published in November 2012 by Nightwood Editions, and was short-listed for an Alberta Book Award and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry.

The lectures are free and open to the public. All are welcome. A small reception will follow each lecture.

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