The Transformations of Autism lecture at Laupus Library

As part of the Ruth and John Moskop History of Medicine Lecture Series, the Medical History Interest Group invites you to attend “The Transformations of Autism,” sponsored by Dan Shingleton. This lecture, presented by Jeffrey P. Baker, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and History; Director, Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery, fourth floor Laupus Library.

Historians have generally described autism as a syndrome that was “discovered” in 1943, remained a rare categorical diagnosis through the 1970s, and then was expanded into a “spectrum” in the 1980s. This talk will argue instead that the meaning and boundaries of autism have been contested from the beginning. It will explore how debates over autism intertwined with those over schizophrenia and intellectual disability, and how race, class, and education played into the diagnosis in complex ways that would make the diagnosis more visible in some populations than others.

Dr. Jeffrey Baker is Professor of Pediatrics and History at Duke University School of Medicine, where he serves as Director of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine. He has practiced for over 25 years as a general pediatrician with a focus on children with autism and special needs. He directed the Duke Children’s Autism Clinic for two years and remains actively engaged with Duke’s Center for Autism and Brain Development providing a medical home for this population. Dr. Baker’s publications have also centered on child health, most notably the history of neonatal medicine, vaccine controversies, and autism. He has taught a wide variety of historical topics to undergraduate and health profession students, including the history of medical ethics, disability, and race in medicine.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

The lecture will also feature a pop-up display.

For directions and parking information, visit:

Lectures may be video recorded. For the presentation schedule and an archive of our previous recordings, visit:

Optional RSVP on Facebook here:

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