Brown Bag Lecture: “Advertising Psychopharmaceuticals, 1953–2013: Evolution, Questions, and Controversies”

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Date: October 16, 2012
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

A talk by Mat Savelli

Since the commercial launch of chlorpromazine (Thorazine, Largactil) in 1953, pharmaceuticals have come to play an increasing role in the treatment of mental illness. This period has also witnessed a growing international homogenization in how mental illness is defined. Although scholars have suggested that these two processes may be linked, more research is needed to identify the connection between the rise of psychopharmaceuticals and the globalization of psychiatric disorders. This discussion will focus on how advertisements contained within medical journals and the popular press can contribute to our understanding of this dual process. In particular, it examines key themes and tropes in the history of psychopharmaceutical advertisements.

Mat Savelli (University of Oxford, 2011) is a historian of medicine with particular interests in postwar psychiatry and pharmaceuticals. His Ph.D. dissertation traced the history of psychiatry in Communist Yugoslavia (1945–1991), and he is presently editing a volume on psychiatry under Communism. His current research examines the international evolution of psychopharmaceutical advertising from 1953 to the present day. His other research projects include cigarette-packaging policy and the history of gambling in Communist Europe.

About Brown Bag Lectures

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of CHF staff and fellows and interested members of the public.

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