Harold Holmes Dugger Lecture
March 30 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Coming to Terms with Failure: The Story of American Medicine and Shell Shock
Presenter: Dr. Annessa C. Stagner
Late entry into the First World War provided Americans a unique opportunity to prepare for a seemingly new ailment that had quickly become the focus of the global medical community – an injury commonly termed “shell shock.” Americans approached medical treatments with optimism, believing their techniques could heal soldiers. Despite their efforts, however, policy makers would later grapple with what appeared to be a gross failure to cure. This presentation will tell that story, and describe the ways in which this event in World War I history came to significantly influence future policy making in the realm of military mental health.
Dr. Annessa C. Stagner is Dean of Academic Services at Lamar Community College, Lamar, Colorado. She earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Irvine. Her scholarship has centered on shell-shocked soldiers in the First World War. She is the author of “Healing a Soldier, Restoring the Nation: Representations of Shell Shock in the United States during and after the First World War” (Journal of Contemporary History 49, no. 2: 255-274), and “Making Broken Bodies Whole in a Shell-Shocked World” (in Emily S. Rosenberg and Shanon Fitzpatrick, eds., Body and Nation: The Global Realm of U.S. Body Politics in the Twentieth Century (Durham NC: Duke University Press)). She is presently writing a book titled Healing America’s Shell-Shocked During and After the First World War.