Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in American History

Join the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing for a hybrid seminar on disability, Deafness, and medical technologies with Jaipreet Virdi, PhD.

This public seminar is in a hybrid format. RSVP is required for attending in-person or for receiving a link for virtual attendance.

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March 13, 2024, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
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Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center (6th floor), and online
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Open to the Public

Hosted by: Bates Center

Portrait of Jai Virdi

About the Seminar

During the late nineteenth century, entrepreneurs began to glut the direct-to-consumer medical market with a plethora of remedies they professed could miraculously cure deafness. They claimed their remedies and machines fostered a world of unbridled optimism for providing “hope” to deaf ears. Even as medical specialists denounced these “cure-all” treatments as quackery in its finest form, the messages of restoring hearing would transfer over to the hearing aid industry. Focusing on the marketing of deafness cure—hearing trumpets, electrotherapy apparatuses, and hearing aids—this presentation unravels the many ways deaf people sought to restore or gain hearing. This history provides broad context for understanding the lived experiences of deaf people and how cultural pressures of normalcy significantly stigmatized deafness.

Jaipreet Virdi is a historian of medicine, technology, and disability at the University of Delaware, and author of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History. Learn more about Dr. Virdi and the seminar.

For accommodation requests please contact Elisa Stroh at nhistory@nursing.upenn.edu or (215) 898-4502 by March 1, 2024.

This seminar is co-sponsored by American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, the Department of History, and the program in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.