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"Sex, Death and Trigger Warnings: A Cultural History of Self-injury" Dr Sarah Chaney (Queen Mary University of London)

Egenis seminar series

An Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences seminar
Date26 February 2018
Time15:30 to 17:00
PlaceByrne House

Egenis seminar series. Non-suicidal self-injury is often thought of as a modern epidemic, entering the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5) in 2013 as a seemingly universal category. Yet the much longer history of medical approaches to self-harm reveals a surprising variation in the ways a range of behaviours have been classified and understood. This history also tells us surprisingly little about people who harm themselves, and much more about prevailing assumptions around sex, gender, youth, deviance and social interaction in particular eras. In this talk, I will set some of these explanations for self-harm in historical context, from the late Victorian fears surrounding male castration to more modern preoccupations with peer contagion and youth culture. By critically evaluating the past, I argue, we can better recognise and manage the assumptions and attitudes of our own time.

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