Marion Andrea Schmidt
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Minorities and pathologies
Psychogenetic counselling at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1955–1969
in Eradicating deafness?
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The first specialized psychiatric and genetic counselling services for deaf people, offered partially in sign language, were established at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in the late 1950s. They were part of a larger mental health care project for deaf people, led by psychiatric geneticist Franz Kallmann. The project was a collaboration with local deaf communities that makes visible a surprising confluence of eugenic traditions and minority movements, science, and activism. It was a turning point in the treatment and perception of deafness in the US, redefining it as a ‘stress-inducing’ psychological condition, and the deaf as a neglected social minority. Tying together the history of psychiatry, psychology, and genetics, this chapter shows how Kallmann and his co-workers reframed older eugenic paradigms in the language of 1960s health and civil rights activism, reframing family and genetic counselling as a health service to which deaf people were entitled.

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Eradicating deafness?

Genetics, pathology, and diversity in twentieth-century America


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