Article ID: CBB149994883

The Case as a Travelling Genre (2020)


This contribution explores how Forrester’s work on cases has opened up an arena that might be called ‘the medical case as a travelling genre’. Although usually focused on the course of disease in an individual patient and authored mostly by one medical author, medical case histories have a social dimension: Once published, they often circulate in networks of scholars. Moreover, scholars of the history of literature have shown that numerous medical cases seem to travel easily beyond the context of medical science into the realm of popular literature and journalism. After tracing the idea of cases travelling in Forrester’s Thinking in Cases, I discuss several contributions by authors who, in the wake of interdisciplinary research on cases in the past two decades, have dealt in different ways with this idea. In the third section, I present my own research on a case of self-crucifixion that was widely discussed in 19th-century Europe. I suggest that understanding the case as a ‘traveling genre’ – an expression borrowed from literary genre theory – highlights the role of readers and publication formats as constitutive for cases, and enables us to see more clearly what cases do for scientists and writers who work with them.

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Article Chris Millard; Felicity Callard (2020) Thinking in, with, across, and beyond cases with John Forrester. History of the Human Sciences (pp. 3-14). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Stoffregen, Malte H.
Jütte, Robert
Eklöf, Motzi
Theriot, Nancy M.
Adams, Tracey L.
Nelson, Marie Clark
History of the Human Sciences
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Social History of Medicine
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Medizinhistorisches Journal
University of Toronto Press
European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Publications
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Riverside
Harvard University
Cornell University Press
Case studies
Literary analysis
Reasoning in science
Forrester, John M.
Kuhn, Thomas S.
Haeser, Heinrich
Bouillaud, Jean Baptiste
Bernt, Johann Joseph
Alberti, Michael
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
18th century
20th century
21st century
Ontario (Canada)
Southern states (U.S.)

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