Please mark your calendars for Friday, February 19th, at 4pm. Historian Dr. John Kinder will be delivering a Mullins Distinguished Lecture entitled “The Cripple Ceases to Be: War, Veterans, and the ‘End’ of Disability” in Surge 118B.
This lecture is made possible through the CLAHS Diversity Committee and sponsored by the Departments of English, Philosophy, and STS and the Disability Alliance at Virginia Tech. ASL interpretation will be provided through the generosity of the WMASLS fund. Surge is a physical space with no stairs, and I can happily answer any other questions you might have about the space at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Cripple Ceases to Be”: War, Veterans, and the “End” of Disability
Abstract: In October 1917, barely six months after America’s entrance into World War I, the US Army Surgeon General predicted, “Probably one of the strangest as well as one of the best things that will come to our country through this war, if its duration is of sufficient length, is that from now on the cripple ceases to be.” Like many other medical experts of his era, he was optimistic that newly developed military rehabilitation programs would soon erase war disability from modern society. Although World War I-era rehabilitation failed to reach its lofty goals, the dream of disability-free warfare remains as powerful (and illusory) as ever. In this talk, John M. Kinder examines Americans’ century-long campaign to bring an “end” to war disability. What accounts for this effort? And what can it tell us about contemporary attitudes toward war, veterans, and disabled people as a whole?
Biography: John M. Kinder is Associate Professor of History and American Studies at Oklahoma State University. He received his PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2007, and he is the author of Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran, which was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015. His research focuses on the relationship between war, trauma, and culture in the United States and around the globe.